Our maple syrup season has finally finished up. As of this last Sunday, we ended up with over a gallon of finished Grade A maple syrup. I am blown away with our success, and we ended up with much more than I thought we would! The season started out slow and very unproductive, but last week made up for all of it. We had beautiful days and nice cold nights, just what the maple trees need to make the sweetest sap.
On Sunday we started with close to 9 gallons of sap and had the DIY syrup evaporator working to its full capacity. Once again I had the sap to a rolling boil within a half an hour, and it took about four hours to cook it down to where we needed it. At about the three-hour point, I added the first batch of syrup ( two quarts), back into the boiling, soon to be syrup. A new step we added to the process this time was the addition of a candy thermometer. Maple sap becomes syrup at 219 degrees fahrenheit, seven degrees above boiling water. We left this step out the first time and this is why the syrup was a little thin. We finished the syrup on the stove and filtered it the same way as in Part 3 of this series.
Over all, we had a very positive experience this year. Obviously the syrup speaks for it self . We tried a lot of new techniques and ideas this year and learned a lot from this season of backyard sugarin’. Probably the coolest, most fun, and succesful experiment was the designing, building, and use of the DIY syrup evaporator. This was so much fun and will be used for years to come. Second, the homemade spiles (or spouts), worked fairly well, but they have been very hard to get out of the trees. I have a year to solve this problem and if any readers have ideas on how to remedy this problem, please let me know. The tubing and buckets for sap collection was wonderful. Our two main trees for sap production are at my parent’s house. Using the bigger buckets allowed us extra time between visits to collect sap.
I am glad the syrup season is done for me this year. It is a bit of work and a decent chunk of weekend time was spent around a very hot evaporator. I do enjoy the process and the finished product, but it is now spring and I have transplants, greenhouses, and gardens to start thinking about. We are building our first chicken coop this year, expanding the gardens again, and still have house repairs and projects to work on. I love spring and summer, but I always forget how busy they get. Hopefully we will find sometime to relax, and eat some french toast with butter and maple syrup! Cheers!