Sweet as Maple Season
Winter time in southwest Pennsylvania usually means snow, cold, sled riding, hot cocoa, and … maple season, one of the sweetest seasons around!
If you are lucky enough to live in an area which produces maple syrup, it’s a pretty sweet life. 😉 The area in which my family lives in southwest Pennsylvania, we are surrounded by the sweetest maple season. Maple syrup is such a staple in our area. The local sugar shacks host a sugar tour where locals (and non-locals alike) are invited to come check out the process of making maple syrup and all the sweet treats made with the amazing, sticky goodness.
Making syrup is a rather “simple” but elaborate process: tap, collect sugar water, boil the sugar water to reduce to syrup, and ta-da sweet, goodness maple syrup. Though the process is simple, it is extremely labor intensive and involves many manhours before, during, and after.
During this sweet season, we take advantage of the opportunity to add a little sweetness to our homeschooling. Our local library carries an array of children’s books on maple syrup season. The perfect place to start, a good book. A couple of our favorite books are Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell, Maple Syrup from the Sugarhouse by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton, and At Grandpa’s Sugar Bush by Margaret Carney & Janet Wilson. We also discovered this awesome, educational YouTube video (https://youtu.be/jZj_4-iqwlI), which not only explains the basics on making maple syrup but the whole process the sugar tree goes through to make sugar water! My family also joins in the local sugar shack tour, visiting a few of the locals. If you are interested in a sweet, educational weekend and happen to be near southwest Pennsylvania, take a look at the Maple Tour weekend (http://somersetcountymaple.org/maple-weekend.html). It’s sweet, educational, and did I mention sweet 😉
Not everyone is fortunate to live in an area where you can go visit a sugar shack, but one way to enjoy the sweet goodness, besides just on pancakes and French toast, is sugar snow candy.
Sugar snow candy is a simple, sweet treat you can make at home anytime of the year. If you have ever read Little House in the Big Woods, you may remember the family making this sweet treat.
Sugar snow candy is best made during a snow but can be done using shaved ice on a sheet tray. Read on to learn how to make this sweet, sticky candy.
Sugar Snow Candy
- Pot or saucepan
- Candy or other kitchen thermometer
- Measuring cup
- Wooden popsicle sticks
- Sheet tray
- Maple syrup (the real deal, 100% maple syrup)
- Snow or shaved ice
Step 1: Measure 8 oz. of maple syrup and pour into pot.
Step 2: Place pot on low heat until it begins to boil, stirring frequently. (Note: This is hot, sticky sugar – an adult may need to do this step.)
Step 3: Boil syrup until it reaches a temperature of 233°F.
Step 4: Remove pot from burner.
Step 5: Cool syrup to 110°F (should take about an hour to cool).
Step 6: Head outside if you have fresh, clean snow or place snow or shaved ice on a sheet tray.
Step 7: Make small grooves in snow and pour syrup onto snow or ice.
Step 8: Sugar snow candy can be enjoyed almost immediately or wrap around a popsicle stick to eat like a lollipop.
Step 9: Enjoy your sweet treat!
Share your sweet treats below! Have a favorite way to eat maple syrup or use it or maybe a favorite book on the topic? Share your ideas and tips!
Abi (a little bit crazy) Frazee, is a sort of newish, homeschooling momma with three little crazy Frazees. Abi, her husband, Justin & kiddos reside in the mountains of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and enjoy spontaneous field trips. Abi has a BA in Early Childhood Education, a MS in Special Education, and is a Certified Labor Doula; she uses her education, with past and present experiences to cultivate a love of learning & sharing. Love, Learn, Have Faith, Smile (& drink coffee!)