Sunday, March 20, 2011

40 to 1 on a Sunday Morn.

Breakfast this morning was a special treat courtesy of The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Cunningham Falls State Park. The "treat" was all natural Maryland maple syrup over pancakes and sausage. Every year, right at the start of Spring the Maryland DNR puts on a pancake & sausage breakfast and a demonstration of real maple syrup making, not to be mistaken for the corn syrup stuff you can buy at the supermarket. Wonderfully sweet, the Maryland maple syrup is a tasty treat above and beyond the grocery store fare. Maryland made, and not mass produced, it isn't cheap, but after our hearty sampling this morning we gladly shelled out a couple of extra bucks to take some home. It was a cold, brisk morning up in the Catoctin Mountains this morning, but the roaring fire and the smell of hotcakes on the griddle left us thinking of breakfast and little else. We learned that store bought "maple" syrup contains just 2%  real maple syrup or none at all. Maple syrup making came to us from the Indians who shared their knowledge with the Pilgrims. The actual sap that leaks out of a maple tree is clear and almost tasteless, but when boiled down the sweetness is concentrated. It takes about 40 gallons of the clear maple sap boiled down to make one gallon of maple syrup, hence 40 to 1. A couple other maple facts: A maple tree has to be almost 40 years old before it is big enough to tap to make syrup. Pure maple syrup has no fat and is a source of  3 essential dietary elements - calcium, iron and thiamin. Maple Syrup is unique to the northeastern United States and Canada's southeast. All I know is Maryland maple syrup is good stuff!
The line at the pancake house. We were nice and early, these are the latecomers!

Mmm, Mmm good!

A warm,inviting fire.

A moment of peaceful pondering lakeside between Candy and I whilst sipping hot chocolate and coffee.

Buckets collecting the good stuff.

Can't leave the park without birdwatching!

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