For many at Old Sturbridge Village, the first whiff of spring isn’t the aroma of spring flowers – it’s the smell of wood smoke and maple syrup, a sure sign that the sap is rising and spring is on the way. Join us for “Maple Days” select dates in March, when the Village’s working sugar camp demonstrates maple sugaring as it was done in early 19th-century New England.
See the entire sugar-making process, from tapping the trees to “sugaring off,” and learn why maple sugar was more commonly used than maple syrup in early New England.
Costumed historians will also cook period foods made with maple products and the tinner and cooper will make maple-related items.
Times: The Village is open from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.
Coming a distance? Check out our Maple Days lodging package
While the modern process of collecting maple sap stirs images of metal spiles and buckets, early 19th-century New Englanders used several wooden tools!
Producing maple sugar is a lot of work! Sap must be collected and boiled for a long time. It takes 35-40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. That one gallon of syrup can make 6 to 8 pounds of sugar!
Today, maple syrup is typically the goal! We love the golden liquid on pancakes and waffles. In early 19th-century New England, however, maple sugar was the ultimate goal! Even more than that, the goal was to make maple sugar that tasted more like regular sugar than maple sugar.
Why Do We Put Maple Syrup On Pancakes?
Here at the Village, we often discuss how early New Englanders tended to make maple sugar rather than maple syrup. This sugar could be used in baking just like cane sugar.
Most modern Americans, however, tend to enjoy maple syrup on things like pancakes instead. A couple of our historians weighed in on the history of maple syrup on pancakes in a recent article on Martha Stewart’s website. Click the button below to check it out.
|Read the Article|
Did You Know?
Be sure to also stop by our shops for sweet treats like maple syrup and candy—plus a wide variety of other maple-themed items for your home. Every purchase in our shops supports the educational mission of Old Sturbridge Village!
Featured products include: