And Just Like That, it's Maple Syrup!
As you can see, I only tapped two Maples on March 1. It’s my first time ever and I found a number of pleasant surprises and challenges.
Pay attention to the temperature. Much depends upon it. The colder it is, the slower the flow. Warm(er) days and my pails filled up twice daily (makes sense, right?). Next year, I think I’ll use tubing and 5-gallon buckets. This eliminates the multiple daily checks and emptying. Plus, I needed to find someone to mind my taps while I was away for two days. It took an afternoon on FB before I got a volunteer. With 5-gallon buckets, it wouldn’t have been a problem.
This spring I’ll build by fire pit which will come in handy next sugar season. I purchased a propane burner but didn’t realize it had a 15-minute timer! Boiling takes hours! If I thought checking these pails twice a day was tedious, tending to the propane flame every 15 minutes was enough for me to nix that plan. I went straight to the stove.
My kitchen smelt pleasantly of a candy shop! My windows were fogged and my little electric burner has probably spent half it’s life in the past two days. Downside - maple sugaring is a sticky mess so wipe sap up immediately before everything gets tacky.
I pulled my spiles after 10 gallons and began boiling it down on the 8th. At 2:30PM today, I got just under a pint of syrup. It’s still warm so I don’t know how thick it will get but I do love the flavor. And I’m just so damn pleased with myself!
Next year, I’ll tap in February with the goal of collecting 40 gallons of sap for approximately 1 gallon of syrup. That should be more than enough to get my family and a few select friends through the year.