So if you read my last post, this weekend we tapped into two maple trees on our property, and started collecting sap, one drip at a time.
When I woke up yesterday morning, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t run right outside (yes, in my PJ’s) to check my sap buckets. The one in the backyard was about halfway full! But, the one in the front only had about an inch. Overall, I would say there was about 5-6 litres. Here was the overnight haul, it’s hard to see, because the sap looks as clear as water, but the smaller pot was from the tree in our front yard.
I used a coffee filter to pour the sap through.
As you can see, there were a lot of little bits of sediment at the bottom of the pot.
I poured in about 6-8 cups of sap, then I turned on the stove at a medium heat and let it boil and boil….
And boil some more. And more. Note: I kept the stove/range fan on for most of the day as I have heard that the amount of moisture produced can do some damage to your house!
Kind of ironic, but I was thinking about going to a local sugar bush to see maple syrup being made with friends yesterday, but I couldn’t because I had to watch the pot boil. Watching a pot boil all day is actually not as much fun as you might think. Lol
I kept adding more sap as it reduced. I used a spoon to roughly measure, and everytime it reduced by half, I poured it a little more sap. I never let it get lower than about an inch. You can see in the below picture how it started changing colour and getting a little darker as it reduced. The smaller pot on the right was my boiling pot.
It only took about 6 hours to reduce it…here is what it looked like towards the end.
You are supposed to use a thermometer to determine when the syrup is ready, but to be totally honest, by the time there was only about a centimeter left in the pot, I just couldn’t let any more boil away. I figured if it reduced any more, there wouldn’t even be enough for all of us to have on our pancakes. I thought it was better to have more syrup, even if it was runny syrup. Better runny than none!
At the bottom of the pot, there was some more sediment, so I strained it again through a coffee filter…
So, this is what 5 litres of sap turned into:
Liquid gold! I have to say, that I have a whole new appreciation for Maple Syrup now. God help anyone in my house who wastes a drop of maple syrup from now on!
My friend dropped by late afternoon, and picked us up some syrup from the sugar bush, and we laughed at the tiny bottle, but in comparison, it doesn’t look so tiny!
Just to give you some perspective, the pot was 3/4 full with sap, and this is the bottle of syrup it produced.
So, let me give you a quick summary….
– About $40 in supplies, including the spigots, buckets, tubes, and drill bit
-About 10 hours to collect the sap
-About six hours of boiling time to reduce the sap to syrup
So, $40 plus 16 hours to make 1/2 a cup. Wow!
But, the experience of now being able to say that I tapped our trees and made maple syrup from scratch….. Priceless!
We did a taste test this morning with our signature chocolate chip pancakes…
Ms. Butterworts vs. The real maple syrup vs. Our maple syrup!
It was pretty hard not to be a little biased here… But our syrup go four out of four votes (or at least no one dared to vote otherwise)
As you can see, it was a success. We still have quite a bit left after our morning pancakes … We could try making taffy, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to boil it down any more!
So, I can check this off my bucket list. The problem is that my bucket list keeps getting longer… Isn’t it supposed to get shorter as you get older? I need to retire soon!