Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The first sugar makers: Discovering the history of maple syrup at the New Hampshire Maple Experience

Who were the first sugar makers? Long before European settlers arrived in New England, the native people of the region had discovered the sweet sap of the sugar maple trees growing here. There are various legends about how Native Americans discovered that the sap could be boiled into various forms of sugar.

These legends and the history and evolution of maple sugaring are just one part of the New Hampshire Maple Experience at The Rocks Estate, which takes visitors through tales and techniques of early sugar makers right through to tasting some fresh, sweet New Hampshire maple syrup!

The Maple Experience includes a trip to the Maple Museum, where visitors can see and touch some of the tools used through the centuries in the springtime ritual of sugar making. One of these is a long, hollowed-out log once used to cook the sap. Native Americans would pour the watery sap into the log and add hot stones from the fire to gradually cook the sap into a taffy-like maple sugar.
Hollowed-out log for cooking sap.

(See a video explanation of the early sugar making process here.) 

When the first settlers arrived, they observed the natives’ ways of maple sugaring and gradually added new tools and techniques to the process.

Today’s plastic tubing, reverse osmosis systems, and high tech evaporators are a far cry from the wooden spiles, hollow logs, and hot stones employed by the earliest sugar makers. But the end result is just as sweet!

This Saturday, April 5, is the final day of 2014 New Hampshire Maple Experience. We hope you’ll join us for hands-on learning and fun. To read more about the Maple Experience, visit our website. To make reservations for Saturday’s maple tours, please email info@therocks.org or call (603) 444-6228.

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