It seems like a good time to dig into the idea of "sugaring." Once upon a time, people didn't tap maple trees to make maple syrup, they tapped it to make maple sugar, hence today's terms "sugarmaker," "sugaring season," "sugarwoods," and "sugarhouse."
Now, we love our maple syrup, but it never hurts to find new ways to enjoy it. So we've been playing with making maple sugar. This is a very basic process, you boil the maple syrup to a certain temperature and then stir it to get all the steam out and it granulates into sugar. Easy peezy. Ha! We've tried to make sugar and boiled over, creating serious messes. We've boiled to not quite the right temperature and botched it up, we've boiled too far and botched it up. We've gotten arm cramps at home doing small batches by hand. But it really is fun to do (especially with the cool machine that moves it around), and delicious, we shoot for a nice soft cross between granulated white sugar and brown sugar.
We plan to start offering our maple sugar sometime in the late summer or fall. In the meantime, we've found good instructions for making maple sugar on your own at home. And these photos below might give you a sense of the where you'll be going..... sugaring time!