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Monday, April 28, 2014

Sugaring

It is that time of year; finally. Will has been collecting sugar maple sap for the past few weeks when the weather conditions have been right. It has to be "warm" during the day and get below freezing at night for the sap to flow in the trees, and run out the spiles into the collecting buckets. At some point, we accumulate enough that triggers the Wildebeast's instinct to fire up the evaporating pan. (I think we probably run out of storage space for more sap). We like our syrup dark and extra maple-y so when the pan cooks down, Will adds more sap to it and on and on until he's cooked down "enough" to can.

Then, it gets brought into the house to be cooked down to the thick syrup. We do this for a couple of reasons; it is easier to watch to make sure it doesn't burn or boil over, and it is usually dark by the time we get to this stage. When it has reached the correct temperature and desired thickness it is run through a filter to capture the sediment (called niter which tastes like icky fine sand) and canned.

This batch ended up being a pint shy of 2 and 1/2 gallons. I think there is 120 gallons of sap to be cooked down out there. The ratio of sap to syrup is typically 40 gallons of sap for every gallon of syrup, so that gives us another three gallons. The forecast isn't showing any nights below freezing this week so this could be the end...

 

5 comments:

  1. You have inspired me to get cooking
    I have aload of rhubarb to cook

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    1. Mmmmm...how about rhubarb orange butter?

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  2. How fascinating. A bit like honey, but without the stings. What do you use it for?

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    1. Lots of things! On pancakes and sausage of course, ice cream, baked beans, a smidge in sauces, sometimes I use it in my tea (if I'm out of honey)...it can be used in place of sugar in many dishes so long as the maple flavor isn't off-putting. :)

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