How to make old fashioned sugar-on-snow


Since we are in the height of the maple season we thought we would write a quick blog post on how to make sugar-on-snow yourselves at home. But first a little history...historically when our great-great-great grandparents sugared they did not make much maple syrup as they lacked sealable containers (such as our current Ball@ jars) and syrup will mold after a time at room temperature. So they sugared...i.e. they collected maple sap, boiled it well past the syrup stage to a temperature that, when stirred, maple sugar would granulate out. In fact, prior to about the mid-1800s the vast majority of Americans made their own sugar (that is until Caribbean sugar became much cheaper to import and destroyed the maple sugar industry) and those who lived in the maple belt made maple sugar. Why sugar you ask? Maple sugar will not go bad at room temperature. It was shelf stable and if these old timers wanted syrup they simply took some maple sugar and added water to it and, presto, they now had maple syrup. So how does this relate to sugar-on-snow you ask? One of the highlights of the maple season in old times was a "sugaring off party" in which they boiled sap to make maple sugar and also had friends, neighbors and family gather for a party. One of the highlights of this party is sugar-on-snow which is maple syrup heated to candy stage then poured on fresh snow. The thick syrup cools quickly on the snow and forms maple taffy! It was traditionally served with doughnuts and pickles (see photo above) to cleans the pallet. It is easy to do at home with friends and family :

-Take a cup or two of maple syrup and heat it on the stove (watch to make sure it doesn't foam over the side of the pot) until it reaches approximately 234 degrees (you will need a candy thermometer). This temperature is key otherwise hot syrup will just melt through the snow if not thick enough

-While heating fill a large bowl or tray with fresh snow.

-Once at 234 degrees pour in thin streams over the packed snow and watch it change almost instantly into maple taffy!