The biggest April Fool is anyone who thinks it’s still winter in Manitoba. Ignore the forecasters and naysayers. The sweetest season is upon us.
This is tree-tapping time, when backyard hobbyists and small commercial maple syrup makers alike sally forth to collect the sap that begins sluicing through the limbs and trunks of Manitoba maple.
Just-right combinations of nighttime freeze and daytime thaw are necessary to start the flow of sap, which is really a chemical reaction in the tree brought on by the warming and cooling of the sun’s lengthening and strengthening rays.
As the spring thaw accelerates, the starch, which the tree accumulated during the previous year’s growth, changes into sugar, then mixes with the water the tree has absorbed through its roots to form a sap.
Don’t let anyone tell you we Prairie dwellers miss out on maple syrup season because we don’t live where the sugar maples grow; our Manitoba maple is also a prolific sugar maker and makes one of the sweetest syrups you’ll ever taste.
Mid-March and through April is our “sugaring season.”
Lillian Deedman of Killarney is among this province’s many backyard sugarers, and wrote to us recently about getting ready to begin tapping her trees. Lillian has also kindly sent us some of her favourite maple syrup recipes too.