The Sugar Maple.
(From the Taranaki News, Sept. IQthi) We are glad to learn that our friends in South Canterbury have been successful in raising from seed a considerable number of plants of the acer sacharim, or sugar maple. This tree grows very abundantly, in the rich valleys of'North America from Canada to Pennsylvania, and from it the European settlers of those regions obtain a large quantity of excellent sugar. It is the most noble of Canadian trees, growing from forty to sixty feet in height and from two to five feet in diameter, and is crowned with a dense mass of foliage at thesummit. The trunk isgenerallystraight, though often studded with projections and excrescences. When it grows, in a clearing, with all its-branches exposed to the light, it is ’ a tree of groat beauty. The timber of this tree is most valuable firewood ; it produces charcoal of the best quality, and its ashes are generally rich in alkali. From the butts beautiful timber, and veneers are obtained.- The extraction of the sap and the making of sugar takes place in April. The process of tapping the tree is very simple : a hole is bored with an auger in an upward direction into tiie alburnum or sapwood of the trunk, on the sunny side, and into the hole so made a spout is placed, and a tub is placed under the spout. A tree will yield a gallon or two of sap in 24 hours, young trees growing in clearings yielding more than older and larger trees growing in the forest. The weather most favorable for the flow of sap is a warm sunny day after a frosty night. When the weather is wet and the nights mild the sap does not flow., From 200 to 300 trees form a ‘sugary,’, and during the sugar season, which lasts
for three or four weeks, a man is employed with yoke and pails to go round and collect the- sap, and convey it to a large receptacle in the boiling-house or camp. The sugar is made by one of three processes—evaporation, freezing, or boiling, the latter being the most simple and the plan usually adopted. If the boiling process be adopted, the sap is poured into a large kettle hung over a fire. As the water is drawn off fresh sap is added, and a piece of fat pork is put in to clarify it. Lime eggs and new milk are also used for clarifying, but a good and serviceable sugar can be made without the addition of any purifying ingredients. After the sop has attained a certain consistence it is allowed to cool; it is then boiled a second time for the purpose of “ sugaring off.” In the midst of this second process the sap becomes of the consistence, of honey, and very frequently the process is stayed hero, and the maple honey, as it is called, is put into jars and used in precisely the same manner has ordinary honey. The Canadians say that maple honey is more palatable than honey made by bees and less cloying. If, however, sugar is the object of the farmer, he continues, the boiling process until the sap becomes glutinous. This is discovered by a loop made of a bent twig being placed in the boiling sugar. If the film which fills the
loop breaks when blown it is a ‘sign that the sap needs more boiling, but if under the breath it is expanded into a long bubble, it is a sign that the seething mass is ready to. granulate. It must then be ini mediately removed from the fire or it will burn, and be placed in vessels with perforated bottoms to crystallise and drain. Honey, sugar, molasses, and vinegar are obtained from the sap. It is not at all uncommon Tor a. Canadian farmer to make 2,000 lbs. of sugar in one spring. If the sugar maple can be acclimatised here so as to yield its saccharine treasures as freely as it does in its native forests in Canada and the Northern States, it will be a valuable addition to the colony, and a great boon to many of our. small but industrious farmers.. The sugar bill in every household is something considerable during the year, and is a large demand on the farmer’s small income. If this can be obviated and a small quantity of sugar obtained for market, in addition . to. the
family supply, at no very-large expend!' ture of time and labrir, .-New Zealand farming will be placed|on a much better footing than it is aLpraSeriU As the maple is hardyand ornamental) we would advise that itvbe planted/extensively wherever ■ornamental or protecting trees are deemed to bo needed, and particularly that it be cultivated on steep, "hill sides, narrow valleys, and other places ! on : broken lands ,which are unprofitable file ordinary cultivation.
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