Maple Sugaring

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

maple sugaring is the practice of making maple syrup from the sweet sap that flows from sugar maple trees in late winter–early spring. Owning a sugar bush—a stand of sugar maple trees—and a sugar house, and annually harvesting sap to make maple syrup, persists as a rural family tradition throughout New England, the Upper Midwest, and southeastern Canada. Only in these regions are there forests of trees full of running sweet sap, and this sap runs for only one or two months a year. Each spring, thousands of people go into the woods to tap the maple trees, harvest the sap, and move the sap into the many small sugar houses (or, in Canada, sugar shacks) that dot the region’s heavily wooded landscape. Now a practice known to many, sugaring has long been a visible part of communities and landscapes in the northern forests of North America.