Many improvements have been made in the manufacture during the last few years. Formerly the highest attainments only resulted in a fine muscovado-like sugar ; but now, specimens are exhibited vying w ith the best loaf-sugar. This htui been effected by greater cleanliness in the preparation of the sap, mid improvements in draining and refining the sugar. A few years ago, a premium was awarded by the Oswego County Agric.Soe., New York, to R. Tinkor, for the following method of preparing niaple-sugar. The sap is boiled in a potash-ealdron to a thick syrup, strained while warm, let stand for 24 hours to settle, then poured off, leaving back all that is impure. To clarify 50 lb., 1 qt. of milk, 1 oz. of saleratus, and the whites of two eggs are well mixed ; the sugar is then boiled again, until it is hard enough to lay upon a saue,er, and finally allowed to stand and cool. Very little stirring will prevent it caking in the caldron. For draining, a funnel shaped tube, 15 in. sq. at the top, and coming to a point at the bottom, is used. The sugar is put in when cold ; a tap is inserted at the bottom, and a damp flannel cloth of two or three thicknesses is kept on the top of the mass. When drained, the sugar is dissolved in pure warm water, aud clarified and drained as before.
Maple-sugar is made mostly for the home nse of the producers, and as an article of merchandise it seems iu a fair way of extinction. Thousands of splendid trees are yearly cut down end con verted into broom-handles ; and at the present rate of destruction, maple-sugar will before long be unknown in the trade. The amount of maple-sugar made in the States is reported at 40 million lb. annually, but this is considered to be below the actual quantity. According to the last census returns, Verruont reported a yield of almost 10 million lb. The production of New York is somewhat larger, but nothing compared with the differenee in area ; in 1860, there were in this State about 10 million acres planted with sugar-maples at the rate of 30 to the acre. The only other States which return more thau 1 million lb. aro :—Miehigan, 4 ; Ohio, 31 ; Pennsylvania, nearly 3 ; New Hampshire, 2i ; Indiana, ; Massachusetts, 1. The total production of maple molasses is 1,500,000 gal., of which, Ohio returns nearly 400,000 ; Indiana, nearly 300,000; Ken tucky, 140,000 ; and Vermont only 16,000. In addition to the large production of maple-sugar in the States, the estimated quantity made by the Indians living east of the Mississippi is 10 million lb. per annuni, and the quantity manufactured by those living west of the river is set down at 20 million, but is probably much greater. The maple-sugar product of Cauada was stated iu 1849 at 2,303,000 lb. for the Lower Proviuce, and 4,161,000 lb. for Upper Canada. The census of 1851 gave the total at 10,000,000 lb., exclusive of what was used locally without being brought to market.
The market value fluctuates between 8 and 22 omits (4-11d.) a lb., according to the ruling prices of eane-sugar.
In Nebraska, no maple-sugar is made, but an equally good article is manufactured to a con siderable exteut from the ash-leaNcd maple or box elder (Negundo fraxinifolium,), growing on the banks of rivers from Pennsylvania to Carolina. Some investigations made in Illinois, with roference to its value for sugar, are reported to decide —(1) That it produces more sap than the sugar maple of equal size, gal. per day being obtained from a small tree of 3i in. diem. and 5 years old ; (2) that the sap is richer in sugar—the yield of dry sugar averagiug 2.8 per cent. of the weight of the sap ; (3) that the sugar produced is in general whiter than that from sugar-maple treated in tho same way. These facts should recommend this tree to the attention of planters, espeeially in prairie regions.
Melon-sugar.—The preparation of sug,ar from the raelon (Camas Melo) is fast assuming some importance in Ameriea. The long delta between the rivers Saeramento and San Joaquin, California, when reclaimed by embankments, is exeeptionally produetive. Melons constitute a crop that never fails in this elimate, and a factory has been erected on Andros Island to work up the melon-juice derived from a large area at small expense for transport. Water-melons with white pulp are preferred, and it is said that seed obtained from Hungary has yielded plants whose fruits surpassed any produeed from native American stock. The plants are set out at distances of 12 ft. apart one way and 6 ft. the other. Their leaves cover the ground and kill all weeds before the latter have time to develop. Besides, they form an impenetrable mulching, which keeps the soil moist.
The juice of the melon is asserted to be free from those non-saeeharine bodies whieh make the extraction of beet- and oane-sugars sueh an expensive matter. On the other hand, the sugar is unerystallizable, aud does not amount to more than 7 per cent. of the weight of the fruit. Usually the juice is only evaporated to suet) an extent as to afford a syrup, the ordinary yield being 1 gal. of syrup from 8 gal. of juiee. The flavour of melon-syrup is said to be mueh superior to that of common beet-sugar. The cost of produetion is set down at 5i eents (214.) a lb., as against beet sugar at 7 cents (30.). One grower in Califi,rnia made 125 bar. of syrup in a single season several years since. No doubt is felt that meloas would thrive luxuriantly in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. The same may be said of all sub-tropieal lands possessing a suffieieutly damp climate. It must also he renierubered that the seeds afford a valuable oil (see p. 1395), aud that the pulp and seed-cake are exeellent food for oattle.