Photo credit: Wellington Times
Well it’s that time of year when Prince Edward County maple syrup producers are in full gear, boiling sap & labeling bottles in time for our annual Maple In the County festival. Recently, I caught up with Ron and Janice Hubbs, owners of Sweet Water Cabin & Hubbs Sugar bush. And this month’s Local Food Heroes.
Situated on the north shore of the County, Ron and Janice Hubbs maple syrup operations is also home to their Sweet Water Cabin, which recently celebrated its 10th year resurrection anniversary. Saved by the couple in the later 90’s, this cute 1830’s log cabin from Lanark County was transported and lovely rebuilt and restored to become the retail showcase for their maple products. Ron is also an avid collector of maple production tools, many of which are on display for viewing in the cabin.
With their passion for all things Maple Syrup, Ron and Janice look forward every year to Maple in The County, when they open up their woods to hundreds of families to enjoy hot pancakes and syrup. Wagon rides are also offered to transport folks between the cabin and the sugar bush. They also love to share their knowledge and are keen to show you the production process. It’s a tasty and authentic County experience for the whole family.
Here’s some interesting maple facts and tips:
- Maple syrup was the main sweetener in the last few centuries, with people consuming 120 pounds a year in the 1700 to 1800’s.
- Women were the main producers of the syrup until the late 1800’s when men took over at a time when the evaporation process was improved with machinery and the invention of tin was born.
- Want to substitute your white sugar? The general rule of thumb is to substitute ¾ cup of maple syrup for 1 cup of white sugar. Also reduce the liquid in the recipe by about 3 tablespoons and decrease temperature by 25%.
- It’s really sustainable! Well cared for trees can yield sap for more than 100 years.
- Once ever four years, Maple trees reseed themselves. It also takes anywhere from 25 to 40 years before a maple is ready for taping.
- Grading of maple syrup goes from Extra-light to Amber (for baking) with Medium being the most popular. Sugar levels are the same for all grades.
- You can freeze maple syrup in glass, tin or plastic for seven to nine years. So buying larger sizes is a great cost-effective alternative.
- It’s packed full of vitamins, minerals and even some amino acids… and it’s fat free!
There are many sugar bushes and breakfasts to explore in The County during the festival, March 23 and 24. New this year is the Sugar Shack Shindig, on Saturday night with good eats by Chef Matty Demille, followed by some foot-stompin music and a barn dance. For more information, visit mapleinthecounty.ca.