Thank You for joining us for Maple Sugar Days, we are happy to provide more information on the Maple Sap to Syrup to Sugar process and the History of the Hale Family in the Western Reserve!
Enjoy this short video on the Hale family that lived and farmed this land over multiple generations. Explore their history of maple sugaring and how it went from a seasonal family practice to small business.
Watch as a Hale Farm Educator demonstrates the process of transforming sap to syrup with our Parallel Flow evaporator. Learn more about the process and history of syrup making.
NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY & ORAL TRADITIONS: Native American ORAL TRADITIONS can provide important historic and cultural information, however some knowledge has been lost as relocation, loss of population, and forced assimilation threatened the the existence of many native languages and ways of life. While many groups are actively rebuilding their cultural foundations today, some knowledge is missing and must be discovered in other ways. Written records and archaeology (or unearthing original objects from the ground) are two other ways we learn about indigenous techniques of the past. When it comes to maple production, we know Native Americans were the first to utilize sap, that they passed these traditions on to colonial Europeans, and that they quickly adapted new trade materials to their old ways of life. What we are not sure about is exactly what those old techniques looked like. If you have ever been to a maple sugar fest before, you have probably heard about Native Americans throwing hot stones from a fire directly into a wooden trough or basket filled with sap in order to boil it to syrup or sugar. After some experimentation, many modern people have found that they can only produce an ashy, inedible mess doing this. While we know hot stone boiling is a traditional cooking method for Native groups, many archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians have realized that we do not have all the facts when it comes to early maple productions. Here are a few links showing different sides of the investigation:
HUG A TREE: To determine the age of a tree you just need to hug it and apply some basic math! First, determine the circumference of the tree by measuring around the trunk. To do so, hug a tree with a measuring tape in hand, or measure with your arms by marking where your arms or hands meet around the tree, and then measure your arm span against a yard stick. Divide by 3.14 (PI) to get the tree’s diameter, then multiply the diameter by the tree’s growth rate (sugar maples have a growth rate of 5.5) to find the tree’s age. Example: If the tree circumference is 80 inches, when divided by 3.14 we find the diameter is 25.46 inches. Multiply by 5.5 and we find the sugar maple is just over 140 years old!
To date other types of trees in your backyard follow this link for a tree growth rate chart.
MAPLE RECIPES: Most maple products are made from a base of heating maple sap or pure syrup to various stages, and then stirring to the correct consistency. You can use this process at home to learn about the physical change of crystallization with students, or just to create a yummy family treat! Maple Taffy is the simplest candy form to make, with no stirring involved!
MAKING BUTTER AT HOME: Making fresh butter at home is an easy experiment to do for all ages! All you need is heavy whipping cream and a glass jar–baby jars are a great size in order to see a quick result. Fill your jar 1/4 to 1/2 way full, screw your lid on TIGHT, and then shake away! For step by step pictures & explanations, as well as some science background on the process, follow the link HERE!
BUSINESS OF SUGAR
MAPLE SUGAR TEA PARTY: Founding Father and abolitionist Benjamin Rush staged a scientific tea party with Alexander Hamilton, a Quaker merchant named Henry Drinker, and “several Ladies” to taste test maple and cane sugars. He dissolved both into tea and had the party try a blind test taste. All thought the two tasted the same, and Rush used this tea party as an example of why Americans should prefer maple sugar to cane sugar: it was easier to make, it was an American product, it did not benefit the system of slavery, and it tasted the same!! You can stage your own scientific tea party at home to taste test his claim. Dissolve the same amounts of maple (make your own with the recipe above ?) and white sugar into different glasses with the same liquid (hot or cold tea, coffee, or lemonade, etc.), and then have friends and family taste both kinds with out knowing which is which. For more information on sugar and abolitionism and how Black women helped to drive the push for maple sugar read the article linked HERE.
Make your own Ox magnet at home – click here for instructions
Shop our MarketPlace for Handmade at Hale and Ohio Maple Syrup – Visit or Etsy Store today!
Thank You to our Maple Sugar Days & Pancake Breakfast sponsors: