March 5, 2011
Well the boiling is finished! Steve pulled an “all-nighter” last night out in the garden boiling down 20 gallons of sap. He began about 9:30 last night and poured the last drop of syrup into the containers at 9:00 a.m. this morning. This is a good batch! But we’re tired. At least the temperatures stayed right around 45 degrees through the night.
We have not pulled our taps yet. We are still discussing whether or not to leave them in the trees and see how much more we get. If we get enough we’ll have a second boil next weekend. It hard to tell though. I don’t think we’ll get 10 gallons in the next 7 days, but who knows. We’ll have to think on it.
I took some pictures of the boiling process last night and the finished product.
March 2, 2011
It’s time!!! We saved all the milk jugs and tapped the trees! We are very excited to have 11 gallons of sap this week already. We are two gallons shy of our total sap collection last season.
Two of our trees are very prolific and the other two are barely dripping. But I’ll take it where I can get it.
We will be setting up the rig this week and probably boil next weekend if the weather cooperates.
I better get moving on finding that hydrometer!
Check back soon for pictures of the boiling process and…hopefully…at least a pint of syrup.
We tried our hand at backyard sugarin’ for the first time this year. We have 3 maples in our backyard and two more nearby that should be usable in a couple of years. Since this was our first attempt, we only tapped about 13 gallons of sap and hoped to make about a pint of syrup. Well, a pint is exactly what we got!
We built our own rig in the garden (pictured above) and started boiling a few weekends ago. It took about 6 hours out in the garden to boil the sap down enough to fit in our stock pot on the kitchen stove.
Unfortunately, our 5 year old son, who was trying to “help” in the garden flipped a shovelful of dirt over his shoulder and into the air. And just as Murphy’s Law would dictate, the small hand shovel containing about a half-cup of pure fertile dirt arced at precisely the right height and landed right smack down the middle of both boiling pans. The sap immediately looked like a mud puddle. Needless to say, our hearts sank right down to the dirt that was left on the garden floor.
But not to be beaten so quickly, I ran and got the filter and the pre-filter for the syrup and we filtered the sap four times. Filter, rinse, filter, rinse, filter, rinse, filter, rinse. I suppose the worst that could happen was the sap stayed muddy and we were out a pint of syrup. The best could be that the sap cleared and we could continue to boil it down into syrup.
Well, the latter held true. The sap was crystal clear and we figured that if any dirt remained, at least it would be sterile. If it wasn’t, it’s too late now! So, a couple hours later, we headed for the kitchen stove.
My candy thermometer went on the fritz during the process, so we wound up boiling it too long on the stove, so it came out much much thicker than we wanted. But it still tasted great and if you warm it just a little, it pours just fine.
Next year, we plan on gathering as much sap as our trees will provide us. It was an exciting and wonderful adventure and we can’t wait until next year to start the process all over again. Our 5 year old will be visiting relatives that weekend!
Tapping for maple syrup is such an earth friendly venture. Maple Syrup farms have used the same trees for generations. As long as care is taken while tapping and collecting, the trees will heal themselves and be eager to give again the following season.
We would love to hear from others who have tried backyard sugarin’ inside the city. Please leave your comments.