Posted by: raisingmustardseeds | March 1, 2012

Sugaring Season 2012 – Update #3

Well, I finally cranked Papa Fisher up on Sunday afternoon (Feb 26) for the first time this season. Or rather, MS Dad did the honours.

As usual, he was a hungry fellow, (Papa Fisher, not MS Dad) consuming fuel (wood) faster than the children could gather.  I “stole” some wood that MS Dad had cut last fall, but it’s still quite wet, which isn’t good when you want a hot roaring fire.  But you work with what you have.  The children gather fallen twigs and branches that help to get the fire going.  MS Dad spent the afternoon taking apart wood pallets that I found by the roadside a few weeks ago.  Those are nice and dry.  I’ll miss them when they’re all used up.

Anyway, we had about 40L of sap collected over several days, some of it was frozen solid in the containers I’d put them in.  Apparently, I could throw out the ice blocks because the sugar content in the ice chunks is minimal.  The good stuff is in the unfrozen part.  But when you’re working with so little sap to begin with, it’s hard to throw out anything.  It makes me feel better just boiling it off.

Some of the children were still sick on Sunday, so we listened to Pastor Paul’s message via the internet in the morning (we were sick the previous Sunday as well).  So grateful for our church! And the ability to “catch up” on sermons.  🙂 We’re going through the book of Revelation.  Cool stuff.

After a quick lunch, some of us headed outside to get the fire going.  No sap that day in the buckets.  It was too cold.  Got out every pot and pan that would fit on the stove.  And started to boil. And boil. And boil….   Ahh, the faint smell of maple syrup is just awesome.  And you get a nice facial too.  🙂

We started the fire at about 12:30pm.  We boiled all we had (minus the frozen blocks that couldn’t come out of my plastic jugs.  Note to self: Do not put sap in small-mouthed containers.  Put in yogurt, margarine or tofu containers!).

We called it quits at about 6pm.  The family was hungry and I’d promised them steak sandwiches.  🙂 After supper, MS Dad and I went out to bring in whatever was left on the stove – we were down to about 2L of liquid.

My plan was to bring it to just under syrup temperature and then store the “almost-syrup” until I boiled a few more batches.  This way, I wouldn’t have to filter small amounts and lose precious syrup in the filter.

I boiled my little pot of liquid on the kitchen stove and to my surprise, I was closer to syrup than I realized.  What threw me off was the colour of the syrup.  Last season, all we made was medium to amber syrup.  This syrup looked like light honey.

We ended up with just over 1L of extra light syrup.  If we bottled it to sell, we would label it as fancy grade. haha.  The taste is very different from our medium/amber syrup.  Very sweet with a hint of maple.  Nice, but we all prefer the darker stuff. It’s more robust in flavour.

I’ve bottled it without filtering out the sugar sand.  We’ll do that when we’ve got more syrup.  In the meantime, the sand has settled at the bottom of the jar.  Today (March 1), I was cool mum – I made maple taffy on snow for the kids with the light syrup.  Stick-in-your-teeth yummy.

We had a couple of days where the sap ran this week.  So today I’m out there again, cranking up the fire.  With the temperature hovering at just above freezing, the snow that’s on the trees is melting and falling out in chunks.  Not so good when it drops into my pots.  grrr.  It is so unproductive when you’re trying to evaporate liquid and you see chunks of snow fall into your pots.

I’m hoping to finish this batch up by this evening.  Forecast is for rain tomorrow and I don’t want to boil in rain.

 

 

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Responses

  1. Very little house on the prairie! ESP the maple taffy bit! Good stuff!

    • Maple taffy is a favourite around here. Don’t know when we’ll be able to do it next…all the snow is almost gone.


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