It’s no secret that maple syrup is huge in Quebec. No matter the time of year, virtually all of our Quebec student tours experience its gooey goodness when they visit a cabane à sucre (sugar shack), where syrup is cultivated from maple trees.
March is traditionally known as la récolte (harvest time), and as with any harvest, it’s a time to share and celebrate! So we’re sharing two traditional récolte recipes that you can easily recreate as a delicious cultural activity in your classroom.
Tire d’érable (maple taffy)
A highlight on any Quebec student trip, this recipe is gooey, sweet, and super fun!
3-4 cans of maple syrup (make sure it’s the real stuff! Aunt Jemima’s won’t cut it)
A large heavy-bottomed pot
Access to a stove top
A candy or sugar thermometer
2-3 large coolers
Enough clean snow to fill your coolers (shaved ice also works)
Popsicle sticks (at least one per participant)
Fill your coolers with snow. Pack down the snow to create a flat ‘pouring’ surface. Make sure the snow doesn’t melt! Now pour your maple syrup into your pot over medium heat and watch it expand. Once it reaches 115 degrees F, ladle short, thin strips of syrup onto the packed snow in your coolers. Wait roughly 20 seconds as the syrup quickly cools into taffy. Stick one end of a popsicle stick into the taffy and gently twist around until the taffy wraps around like a lollipop. Enjoy!
Beurre d’érable (maple butter)
One of the sweetest secrets out there is maple butter, a spread that you can even create from leftover taffy. Sumptuous and sustainable!
You'll need:Everything you need for the taffy activity, minus the coolers and snow
1 small round Tupperware per participant (green tip: you can also reuse old yoghurt tubs)
If you don’t have enough leftover taffy from the first recipe for everyone to participate, repeat the first steps of the taffy recipe until you’ve reached the desired boiling temperature. Remove the pot from heat and allow the syrup to cool slightly. Don’t wait too long or it will get too tough to stir. Use your ladle to divide the syrup amongst your tubs. Once you’ve made sure that the tubs are cool enough to handle, use the popsicle sticks to stir the syrup like there’s no tomorrow. After about 10 minutes of solid stirring (it’s a good workout!) the maple will start to look creamy. Spread that bad boy on toast, muffins, bacon... the sky's the limit!
Did you Know?
March is a great time to plan a class trip to Quebec school trip. You get all the fun of our epic winter itineraries for a fraction of the cost; plus, the weather's milder!