Podcasts and Pig Pans

     Soon after Columbus Day, we harvested the last of the sweet corn, dug the spuds, piled the squash, and then enjoyed a mini vacation.  As we drove along the backroads, we decided to listen to Cornell Maple Program’s new podcast called Sweet Talk: All Things Maple. It was launched in December of 2020. Currently there are a total of 8 episodes. We traveled enough miles to listen to all of them over a couple of days. The hosts, Adam Wild and Aaron Wightman present the latest research, news, and trends in the maple industry. 

    We were all ears for Episode 5: Sweet Talk with Dr. Seeram. He is a professor at the University of Rhode Island leading cutting edge research into the health benefits of maple syrup. More than once he referred to maple syrup and its related products as the ‘smarter sweetener’. You can read what Dr. Seeram and his team are investigating by visiting the URI website at https://web.uri.edu/maple/

     In our home, we use maple syrup and dry granulated maple sugar as a substitute for white sugar on a regular basis. I will admit I sometimes have a batch of granulated maple sugar on hand because my sugar candy was too soft. One way to rescue a soft batch is to boil it down again, watch it carefully, and take it to a high enough temperature where you can then stir it and watch it granulate. The humidity this summer was a challenge to deal with when making maple confections. More than once I had to reexamine my process and adjust for weather conditions. Thank goodness for mentors. I put in an urgent call to the woman who first taught me how to make maple sugar candy over 30 years ago and talked through my checklist of questions. We just agreed to take the syrup a few degrees higher and wait for good weather. She has the benefit of an air conditioner and dehumidifier in her workroom. I do not, but maybe soon. She also encouraged me to stir, stir, stir the syrup as it is heating to avoid a range of temperatures between the front and back of the pan. When making maple sugar candy, I use a pan called a pig pan. It holds about a gallon and a half so you get a good size batch of candy. Yesterday, was a great day for candy making and the results were wonderful. Naturally I sampled some… just for quality control of course. 

     The learning never stops. We appreciate all the resources both online and in-person that help us make quality maple products to enjoy.