St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

RRR -- Dreams of Maple Season

It has been a quiet week here in Pine Island, MN. The snow is melting fast, with our yard now open except where the snow had drifted in from our constant west winds here on the edge of the big prairie. I have tapped a yard maple here to see if the sap will run early!

I ordered an old book “The Maple Sugar Book” by Scott and Helen Nearing from and got it a few weeks ago. It has a lot about the history of sugaring and syruping! It was written in 1950 by the two and has a lot of the history of maple sugar and syrup as well as their experiences moving from the city to the country in the 1930s and setup a sugarbush, describing the process in their book. They lived an interesting life.

Learn about Scott and Helen Nearing

Until the 1950s or so, much of maple production went into maple sugar rather than syrup. Many folks used it in place of white sugar. President Thomas Jefferson was a proponent of maple sugar as a replacement for slave-made white cane sugar. During WWII, maple sugar was available for the making while white sugar was rationed. To make maple sugar, check out

Learn to make Maple Candy

When I am desperate for something sweet, I do this: Pour a quarter cup of maple syrup into a microwaveable bowl, smear a thin rim of butter (margarine) around the inside top of the bowl, zap in the microwave for 3 minutes (more if you have a lower powered one), remove, cool for a while and then stir as it thickens and pour onto a buttered plate or maple leaf candy molds. One piece satiates your sugar craving!