It is hard to believe it has been a whole year since the last time I made maple syrup. (You can click here to read last years post) So much has happened since then but it also seems like the time is just flying by.
I’ve learned a lot about making maple syrup since last year and tried my hand at doing things a little different.
Tapping The Maple Trees
This year Jonny took over a majority of the maple syrup making. I came home from work one day to find the trees on our lawn were all tapped. A little disappointed that I wasn’t there for the tapping I was also really relieved that I was spared the cold, uncomfortable process.
I don’t know how the winter was where you are but here in Niagara, winter lasted forever! Last year we tapped the tress mid-February. This year we tapped at the beginning of March and it was still far too early. The trees were too cold. not only did they not run but it split the wood causing sap to leak later in the season when it started to run. Lesson 1 learned.
When the sap finally started running at the end of March I had almost given up on maple syrup for the year. I decided “forget it, I’ll just get bees!”. But that’s another story altogether!
Eventually the trees started to trickle. Slowly but surely we collected about 20L of sap (enough for about a 1/2L of syrup).
Boiling Down The Sap Into Maple Syrup
Jonny started up the fire in the backyard and setup our new tripod to hold the pot and got everything up and boiling. It was very exciting boiling over an open fire. Last year we had boiled it over the stove in the kitchen. This is a great way to increase the humidity in your household VERY quickly! This is a great opportunity to clean your kitchen walls and cupboards.
So along goes the sap boiling down (and sometimes over). But as the evening wore on we started checking the sap a little less often. At one point I could smell beautiful maple syrup wafting in the window. I shouldn’t be able to smell that. Jonny looked out to see the pot glowing red. He ran out to the pot to find it had boiled dry. Hmmm, Lesson 2: wood heat is unpredictable.
So we debated for a couple days and ultimately decided to boil down the rest on the stove like we did last year. Two days of boiling away in a very humid house. Luckily the weather had FINALLY warmed up and we were able to open some windows.
A Quick Vid Of Our Maple Syrup Boiling
Why Make Homemade Maple Syrup?
Sometimes people ask why we would go through so much work for such a small amount of maple syrup. In fact, people ask that about all sorts of things we do.
It’s fun. It’s rewarding. It is really nice to know where our food comes from. And it helps you to appreciate the work that goes into everything you consume.
Now that I have spent the time to make my own syrup, I use less and appreciate it more. There was a time when I would cover my plate with it, soak up what I could with my pancakes and the rest would get washed away. But now I appreciate it more. I use only what I need. And my hips appreciate this! 🙂
Out the taps come. Away the buckets go. Stored away safely until the spring of next year when we do it again!
Have you boiled down your own maple syrup? Do you have any tips for me for next year?