Maple Sugaring

Have you ever had maple syrup? No, not that artificially flavored and colored corn syrup you buy at the grocery store, I mean REAL maple syrup.

A three pane collage, the "Sap Cow" (patent pending) used to collect from the individual trees, off loading the sap for transportation to the boiler, close up of sap pouring into buckets

If you stand in front of the super market shelves and see the price difference between manufactured goo and real maple syrup, the temptation might be to reach for the goo. I beg of you, resist. There is a difference and it IS worth it.

A three panel collage the wood pile necessary to fule the fire. The homemade maple sugaring stove, Adding more sap for a consistent boil

Our neighbors have made maple syrup for a few years and this year, we (*ahem*, A-Man), got in on the action. Making maple syrup is very time consuming and mother nature has to cooperate for the operation to work well. The process actually starts in the fall, when you traipse around the woods tagging maple trees. Once the leaves fall off, it’s hard to tell the maples from other indigenous species. 

When the daytime temperatures start to climb out of the twenties, and the night temperatures still dip below freezing, then, it’s time to tap the trees to collect the sap. A good sap year has a few weeks of daytime temperatures in the high 30’s or low 40’s and night time temperatures below freezing. Once you have a good quantity of sap collected, it’s time to boil it down to make syrup.

A three pane collage the sap pan in the dark of nigh, finishing the boil on the stove, the final product

Sounds relatively straight forward, why then is Maple syrup so expensive? It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap and approximately 12-14 hours to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. The first boil of the season was yesterday. They started at around 7am and by 9pm they’d managed to make just about a gallon of syrup.

Oh, but what a heavenly nectar it is!

A waffle drizzle with the results of the process.

Note to A-Man: What I wasn’t able to collect with the waffle, I used my finger to wipe up.  Not a drop was wasted in the creation of this blog post. 

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