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Sweet Memories of the Maple Syrup Years

May 18, 1985

Having grown up in a small Pennsylvania town in sugarbush country, I especially enjoyed the article (April 29), "Sugarhouse Operation a Sweet Job." However, I disagree with the statement that maple tree sap "looks like and tastes like water. . . . "

In "Miracles on Maple Hill," Virginia Sorensen's Newbery Award-winning children's book on maple sugaring, the authoress (a former neighbor of mine) wrote about Indians who boiled mush in "sweet tree water every spring."

In addition, I know from personal experience that the colorless, watery liquid with its 2.5% syrup content, tastes quite sugary. Many times years ago on my way to school during spring thaws, I drew a finger across the rough damp bark in order to get a quick taste of the sweet sap trickling down the maple tree.

Occasionally our family caught sap in Mason jars hung on two-for-a-nickel spikes hammered into maple trees near our property. Later my sister and I had plenty of time to taste the sweet liquid while our mother worried about the cost of the propane gas it took to sugar down 10 cups of sap to produce only 4 tablespoons of maple syrup.

Memories of these activities, plus those of trips to the sugar farms, are as fresh as the boiled down sweet water always present in my pantry. My California family is never without a can of 100% maple syrup ordered each year from one of the sugar farms in Pennsylvania or Vermont.

OLLIE SPRATT

Highland

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