Edit ModuleShow Tags

Just a Big Sap: Maple Syruping Events in April


Published:

Heidi Kristensen/iStock

I appreciate a good hot breakfast on the weekend. Bring on the egg bake, flavorful sausage, fluffy buttermilk waffles. Pancakes are alright as long as they’re not Swedish pancakes (I apologize right now to my Swedish ancestors and relatives, but I just don't like the texture), and especially good if they’re made with blueberries or chocolate chips. It’s not a secret that I have a sweet tooth, and when you combine hot breakfast foods with pure maple syrup, I’m a happy girl.

But until just recently, I never really thought how that syrup gets into that container. Well, maybe I thought about it a little bit back in the 80s when I was reading about the maple syrup “sugaring off” contest in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods (the first book in the Little House series), but I haven’t given it much thought since then.

This month, you can attend maple syruping events at Maplewood State Park on Saturday, April 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (7 miles east of Pelican Rapids) and on April 25 at Wild River State Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn about the history of maple syruping, see how the maple trees are tapped and the sap is collected and boiled, and try a sample. Pretend you’re a pioneer for a day! Show up in a horse and buggy, wear a bonnet, and call everyone “Ma” and “Pa.”  (Or don’t, it’s totally up to you.)

But who decided it was a good idea to tap the maple trees and boil the sap down? According to the Maple Museum, “An old Iroquois legend describes the accidental discovery of the sugarmaking process. A hunter returned to his dwelling and found an enticing sweetness in the air around the kettle in which his mate was boiling meat. The fluid in the kettle, he learned, was sap and had been collected beneath a broken maple limb.”

Whether this is true or a tall tale, I know one thing: Whoever discovered this delicious natural sweetener was a genius. My great uncle Paul even took part in this agricultural tradition, harvesting maple syrup on his property in the tiny, unincorporated town of Connorsville, Wis. One year, my dad and little brother Nick helped out (I was away at college). My dad told me the sap ran fast through thin plastic tubes, like water from a tap, and once it was collected, it was a tedious process boiling the sap to pure maple syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, since 98 percent of sap is water, and if you don’t watch it carefully—making sure the fire doesn’t get too hot or the sap levels get too low— you risk losing a whole batch (burnt syrup doesn’t taste so good). But when it’s boiled just right, the taste is well worth the wait.

It’s the middle of the afternoon and all this syrup talk has me craving a sugar rush. Looks like we may be having breakfast for dinner tonight ... extra syrup. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Memorial Day Activities in the Twin Cities

From historical reenactments to a hip-hop music festival, there's something for everyone this Memorial Day weekend in the Twin Cities.

A Day Trip to Red Wing

Located right on the Mississippi River, Red Wing offers a historic downtown district and spectacular views

It's Farmers Market Season

No matter where you live in Minnesota, fresh produce, flowers and homemade goodies await

Origami in the Garden

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's latest exhibit puts the art of folding paper on full display with a garden and metal twist

New Ways to Explore 3 Classic MN Destinations

From Fort Snelling to the North Shore, check out this summer's technological updates to historic and wild Minnesota places

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: May

This month, Sue Z. recommends supporting local student chefs with a dinner at Saint Dinette

What to Wear + Where to Go: Music Festivals

Your style guide for Minnesota music festivals

Mesabi Trail Offers New Views in Northern Minnesota

The Mesabi Trail, a 120-mile paved cycling and hiking trail that spans the Mesabi Iron Range, recently opened a new connection in Virginia, MN that crosses the state's tallest bridge and offers amazing views of former minelands.

Glensheen Mansion Bonfire Nights

Enjoy this summer tradition from one of the most iconic estates in the state

Twin Cities Festival Spring Babies

If April showers bring May flowers, spring babies bring fun for the whole family

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags