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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to Make Maple Syrup by Stephen and Alison Anderson

Release Date - February 25, 2014

Stephen and Alison Anderson
Storey Publishing

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I've actually helped neighbors make maple syrup when I was a teen, so I know a lot about the process. Stephen and Alison Anderson, owners of Wisconsin's Anderson's Maple Syrup, have written a very detailed, easy-to-follow guide into maple syrup. It covers everything you need to know from identifying the right trees to preventing contamination.

There are 11 chapters in all. They include:

History of Maple Syrup
Identifying and Tapping Maple Trees
Gathering Sap
Cooking Sap
Filtering and Bottling Syrup
Cooking on an Evaporator
Collecting Sap With Tubing
End of Season Care
Designing a Sugarhouse
Grading and Selling Your Syrup
Making Other Maple Products

Anderson's Maple Syrup is a third-generation business so they do know what they're doing and their advice is sound. The one thing I wanted to mention, if you're in Vermont, Vermont legislators apparently didn't feel dealing with the economy and job loss was enough, and last year, they decided to spend time revamping Vermont's grading system by sticking closer to the IMSI guidelines and eliminating all Grade B ratings saying that consumers do not want Grade B because they view it as inferior quality.

In Vermont, you are no longer supposed to use Grade A, Grade A Fancy, Grade B, etc. Now you use "Golden," "Amber," "Dark," and "Very Dark." No one knows what happens when syrup makers buck the system and stick to the terms Vermonters know. It is worth considering your market though. I've been in Vermont for decades, and I want Grade B syrup. I'll be sticking to local farms that stick to the terminology I know and who offer the Grade B syrup that I enjoy.

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