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Dining In: Time to collect the maple syrup

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Freezing nights followed by thawing days loosen the sap in local sugar maple trees, and that’s when it’s time to put in taps and collect the flowing sap.

Three local organizations will hold events on four days to show how this homegrown sweetener is made, starting with the annual opening of the Sugar Shack on Headquarters Road in Tinicum on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the program “Maple Syrup: From Tap to Bottle.”

Craig Schneiderwind has overseen the operation at this preserved farm in Tinicum for many years. He explains the process from start to finish and offers some hands-on opportunities and tastings.

Admission is free; registration and directions are available through the Tinicum Conservancy by calling 610-294-9732 or sending an email to cahill@ptd.net.

Also on Saturday, the scent of maple syrup cooking can be found at Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell Township, N.J. The farm’s own maple sugaring process will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the collection of sap, the cooking of the sap into syrup, and the eating of pancakes covered with syrup. The sugaring event will continue the following weekend with the same schedule planned for March 2.

Admission and parking are free. For more on the farm see howellfarm.org.

Maple Sugar Day at Peace Valley Nature Center outside Doylestown will take place 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.Saturday March 9 Staff members will show visitors the park’s own sugar bush where they will collect sap. A boiling pot of sap will go from clear to golden and visitors can compare the taste of the sap to the finished syrup. Admission is free and waffles with maple syrup will be for sale.

Maple syrup is a perfect natural sweetener for pancakes and waffles and a terrific ingredient for baked goods including muffins, cakes and cookies. But it has many additional uses including in sauces for vegetables, fish and meats such as this easy slow cooker rib recipe from tasteofhome.com.

Sweet and Savory Ribs

1 large onion, chopped

4 pounds boneless

country-style pork ribs

1 bottle (18 ounces) honey

barbecue sauce

1/3 cup maple syrup

¼ cup spicy brown mustard

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Place onion in a 5-quart slow cooker. Top with ribs. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; pour over ribs. Cook, covered, on low 8 to 9 hours or until meat is tender.

Nutrition: 1 serving: 509 calories, 21g fat (7g saturated fat), 130mg cholesterol, 945mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 0 fiber), 40g protein.


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