Time for Maple Syrup!!!
Yes Folks! Spring has Arrived on Our half acre Homestead! With it came the spring sap run! We Don't get a lot of sap..enough to give us a litre or two of syrup. We tapped 14 trees this year..and would have got a lot more sap..However..the temps rose too fast for us to run the sap for long. But we'll get a taste! First though we drill a hole on the sunny side of the tree..
tap in a spigot and hang a bucket to collect the sap!
It takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup...or there about.
Once we collected enough sap for a pot full..
We put it on to boil down.
Once it boils down to a rich dark colour..we will strain it through a clean pillow case into the stock pot for finishing in the house!
Our pot was not big enough to boil all the sap at once. What we do when this happens.. we boil down the first pot to a nice dark amber colour. We then pour it into a smaller pot and set aside. We refill the large pot with fresh sap and again..boil down to the same colour as the partially reduced sap that has been set aside. Once the second batch has reached the same colour..we combine the two batches back into the large pot..and continue to reduce.
Many people make the mistake..of adding fresh sap to the already partially reduced syrup. This dilutes the syrup and your sugar content and stability is compromised. It is useable syrup..BUT must be refrigerated once bottled.
Syrup that has been properly boiled down..does NOT need to be refrigerated. It is shelf stable!
The next step is to get your bottles washed and rinsed thoroughly. My neighbors, when I was growing up used old whiskey bottles. But I save my store bought syrup bottles!
When the sap has boiled down to the right colour and flavour. We strain it through a clean pillow case..and bring it in the house for finishing on the stove.
Once boiling on the stove...you take a 1/4 cup of milk and one fresh egg..
and you beat them together. (I did not get a picture of this as my hands were full at the time.) Once your egg milk mixture is beaten up..pour it into the nearly finished boiling syrup. The egg and milk mixture COOKS in the boiling syrup. This is then skimmed off..this removes the finer particles that the straining process could NOT get.
This is how the scrambled egg looks when it has removed the fine silt from the syrup.
Throw this out..or feed it to the pigs!
Once this is done it is now ready for the final straining through a fresh clean pillow case.
Now it is ready to be ladled into clean bottles and be capped!
The result is a lovely clear sweet product ready for your pancakes!
Nothing beats maple syrup you have made yourself!!