Longtime readers will notice that all our labors here involve moving things, categorically, from”Get It Elsewhere” to “Make It Here.” Sure, there have been a few “why did we bother” projects, but most are rewarding. Most! This is encouraging, isn’t it?
And when we scraped down our first batch of maple sugar from the bottom of the roasting pan on Thursday night, the three of us, sticky spoons in mouths, mumbled something to the extent of “why didn’t we do this before?”
Okay, okay; sure, the ratio, in gallons, of sap to syrup in most commercial boilings is 43:1. So who cares that it took us five gallons to get our measly first half pint? It was seriously the best syrup we’d ever had. Maple sap is only about 2% sugar, you see; the rest is mostly water. The bags are filling quickly and normal recommendations are that you empty them every 2 days, especially if the daytime temperatures hit 40 or more.
This is our setup: In Tom’s garage, we use the metal stand that came with our smoker (to adapt it to being a turkey fryer, so of course it was never used until now) to boil off the sap in a large (3.5 gallon) kettle. Once it reduces by about 3/4, we pour it into a roasting pan and finish it on this rusty two-burner stove. OF COURSE I don’t have pictures of the actual operation. I figured Tom’d never get through those 20 gallons in one day. (He did.) Grand total: about a quart and a half.
I promise to get more pictures. This is just the tip of the iceberg, sap-wise.