Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I have this strange compulsion. Well, it's not THAT strange but most people don't seem to have it. Simply put: If it can be produced on my land, I want to utilize it.
So, when my husband mentioned wanting to make Maple Syrup again (He used to when he was a teenager) I jumped at the idea!
Since we're incredibly short on money right now (farming isn't doing so great nor is electricity, the two things we're invested in!) my amazing brilliant husband built his own evaporator. (i.e. pan to boil down the sap in)
It IS possible to just boil it down on the stove but it's incredibly... uhm... sticky. And it's a long process because it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. (But I'd probably do it if we didn't have an evaporator. Because I'm crazy like that.)
For those of you who don't know how Maple Syrup is made... a hole is drilled in the side of the tree and a small spout is hammered in. You then place some kind of container under the spout (using hanging on the tree with a little hook that is connected to the spout) to catch the sap that will run.
Although the "typical" is to use buckets... anything really can work. As my husband shows...
Sugaring takes place when it's still freezing at night but warm during the day. (i.e. spring) Ideal is 20's at night and 40's during the day.
The sap is then collected and boiled in a stainless steel pan (to prevent darkening).
A long long time later you have syrup!