April 12, 2015

Maple Syrup Making

Last fall I scoped out the only large sized maple tree on our property.  It's actually quite big, at least 1 foot in diameter.  Somebody must have left that tree to grow when they clear cut the area as most of the other trees are quite young, about half a foot in diameter.  So I've been planning for this homestead project all winter.  We picked up a maple syrup bucket and a spout from a local farm supply store.
We've had a much longer colder winter than usual and we tapped the tree on March 7th, but we didn't start to get any drips until the end of March.

At the beginning of April the bucket filled up for the first time.   After much discussion we decided the best way for us to boil down the syrup was to use the single camper burner setup with one of those little propane tanks and set it up on a sturdy table on the deck.

Here's some pics of the maple water boiling in the bottom of our pressure cooker pot.  We started out boiling outside as I've read if you do all the boiling in the house that everything gets coated with sticky goo.

We've boiled down about an inch at this point. It took 
about an hour with the propane on at full blast.

I've just put the pot on the stove.  There's about an inch of 
water left.  It now has a bit of amber colour to it.

This is when we stopped boiling.  It's a slight amber colour still.  
I'm holding a cup with white on it so you can compare the colour.  

We tasted the syrup here.  It was super sticky, very sweet and tasted delicious!  I couldn't believe the depth of flavour.  In the end I think we got about 1/4 cup of syrup.  This was definitely not an efficient process for a tiny bit of product but the taste blows me away.  I don't quite understand how the syrup tastes so much better than the maple syrup I buy from the store.  The stuff I buy from the store is locally made pure maple syrup.  I'm wondering if it's because I processed it differently somehow and maintained more flavors.  It's a mystery.

Just today we are now boiling our second bucket of maple syrup...