Maple Syrup Makes It Better

August 18, 2011

Vermont's "liquid gold" is the perfect flavor for warming up fall favorites.

Banana Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

When I married, I gained not only a husband, but a lifetime supply of pure Vermont maple syrup, courtesy of my father-in-law, Bob Hession. Bob produces his own small batch of “liquid gold” on his maple-treed Vermont farm every spring.

Vermont maple syrup production, also known as “sugaring,” typically starts at the beginning of March and runs for six weeks. During this time, temperatures that alternate between freezing and thawing prompt sap to flow from the trees. Vermont’s maple producers, or “sugarmakers,” collect the sap by drilling small “tapholes” into the trees.  The tapholes are then fitted with a spout, which conducts the sap into a large bucket or to network of tubes that carry it to the sugarhouse.

The Hession Sugarhouse is small and rustic, with room for the large metal boiling vessel, or evaporator, and a small group of maple enthusiasts. There is also the requisite cupola on the roof, through which the steam produced by the boiling sap escapes. Pure, rich and dark amber-colored maple syrup is produced by vigorously boiling the sap, removing water and concentrating the liquid.

It takes about 40 gallons of sap to yield just one gallon of Vermont Grade A goodness. It’s liquid gold, indeed, and the perfect flavoring for fall recipes.

—By Julie Hession

What more maple syrup? Here’s another Relish story.


Banana Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

Why not try combining the two best parts about breakfast, bananas and maple syrup. The combination of the two makes for a downhome comforting treat!

maple pecan cookies

Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies

Oats, pecans and maple syrup combine in these yummy cookies.

Chicken with Maple Stuffing

Herbed Maple Walnut Chicken

Have the flavor of stuffing without actually stuffing—this recipe uses boneless breasts.


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