Maine might have its lobsters, but Vermont has its maple syrup. For something so clear, it's sort of ironic that the history of maple syrup is so murky. By the time the 1700s rolled around, sources state that Native American and European settlers were both making maple syrup, but the history beforehand is a bit less clear. One thing is certain, though — with sugar maple trees only existing along the eastern coast of North America, maple syrup is about as American as it gets. And for that, we celebrate: every year on Dec. 17, it's National Maple Syrup Day!
Why We Love Maple Syrup (and National Maple Syrup Day)
A. It pairs with more things than you can imagine
Sure, you’ve tried it on your pancakes, waffles, and french toast — but have you ever let maple syrup make its way to your bacon? Don’t just limit yourself to breakfast, though. Maple syrup makes an awesome glaze for all sorts of root vegetables, bringing out flavors you might have never noticed.
B. It’s worth stealing
There aren’t many food items that, when stolen, would qualify as being part of a heist. But with barrels of this saccharine sap going for over a thousand dollars per barrel, it’s easy to see why a truckload of maple syrup might be worth a boatload of cash.
C. It’s full of sugar
While you might be wise to brush your teeth after having those maple syrup-soaked pancakes, it’s hard not to love something that’s mostly sugar!
How to Celebrate National Maple Syrup Day
1. Tap a tree
While making your own maple syrup is a lengthy (but totally do-able) procedure, tapping a tree is the first step — it’s easy enough for most to accomplish, and it provides an interesting look into the syrup-making process.
2. Try a unique pairing
As we noted above, you can’t go wrong with a maple syrup glaze on root vegetables. Try drizzling some chopped carrots, beets, or sweet potatoes with maple, and add some olive oil and garlic, for an unforgettable flavor experience.
3. Take a trip to Vermont
You’d have to go to Canada to find a place more syrup-centric than Vermont. Make plans to check out Burlington’s International Maple Conference while you’re there!