realworkingsailor Posted March 16, 2019 Share #1 Posted March 16, 2019 For anyone paying attention at home, it's been almost two years since I had to give up my sailing career. It has not been an easy transition to a shore career, but at long last I've settled on a course of action and now am pursuing a little more education to help me get there. Back in August 2017 I moved up to a wonderful 80 acre parcel of gently rolling forest adjacent to my grandparent's farm. One of the assets at my disposal is a sizeable section of hardwood forest (about 20 acres in size), containing a large number of my favourite type of tree.... the sugar maple. Now that winter has begun to loosen it's icy grip, I've decided to take advantage of the situation and try my hand at making my own, home made, maple syrup. Yummy! I began a couple of weeks ago gathering the supplies that I needed to get started, spiles and buckets, and I set out with my furry friend into the woods. For a first timer, it is suggested to tap between 5 and 10 trees (I tapped 7). Each spile will yield roughly a gallon of sap a day when the weather conditions are optimal (below freezing at night, and mild during the day). A few days after I tapped my trees, the weather decided to co-operate and things started to run. My furry friend is a great help when checking the buckets I'm out every afternoon emptying buckets, and since the bush trails are impassable by any vehicle that I own, it generally means hauling out the sap on foot (with toboggan assistance). Six gallons of sap ready to go. This morning I began the initial boiling. This is always best done outside over an open fire (you can use a propane burner, but you'll run through a lot of gas!). If you try to do this inside.... say goodby to your wallpaper, it takes roughly 40 parts sap to make one part maple syrup, which means A LOT of steam. For my first run, I boiled down about 6 gallons at one shot. After a good day's boiling (about 6 hours at a steady rolling boil), the concentrated sap was filtered (there's always little twigs and things that fall into the buckets and the big pot), and brought inside for finishing. This is the tricky part where you have to watch the temperature carefully, and make sure the syrup doesn't boil over.... or burn. Finally after an hour on the stove.... my first bottle of maple syrup, it's a little cloudy because it needs to be filtered once more to remove the nitre (also known as sugar sand, which is a result of the natural minerals in the sap precipitating out), but it's still good enough for a first attempt......bring on the pancakes!! Andy PS, I've got another 10 gallons of sap waiting in the shed.... and more on the way.... I think I'm going to be busy..... egkb, davyboy, BETAQDAVE and 17 others 20 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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