Naper Settlement’s Sweet Maple Sugaring

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A century old practice that Native Americans taught Europeans continues on at Naper Settlement.

Collecting sap from maple trees and turning it into syrup or sugar, maple sugaring has been a sweet program at Naper Settlement for over ten years.

The process involves drilling into sugar maple trees to get sap in the spring. However this season’s weather hasn’t been the best for collecting.

“Maple sugar season really depends on the weather change,” said Justin Stech, Museum Educator at Naper Settlement. “The season begins when we start hitting up in the 40s and as long as they’re nicer in the 20s we’re pretty much good to go. So this year as you know, we had 60 degrees back in February so it kind of eliminated any kind of maple sugaring season. It’s very finicky to say the least.”

On a good year, the sugaring season is four to six weeks long, compared to this year, which was about ten days.

Once enough sap is collected, it’s boiled to evaporate the extra water in it to become syrup.

It’s all at Naper Settlement to show us what early settlers did.

“Then we talk about not only how this influenced local culture, Naperville history, but also we like to talk on how, this is relatively recent, the Native Americans approached maple sugaring. So you can see the changes and how we developed it through their practice,” said Stech.

Some sweet history happening right in Naperville.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.