Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SPT: 28 ounces.

28 ounces of pure maple syrup
My husband loves a project, especially when we are at our Acorn Cottage(our escape from city life, our cabin). This year he built tire swings, chopped down trees, made a table and lamp out of tree limbs and decided that it was time we tried our luck at making our own maple syrup from the ten or so maple trees we have scattered on our property.

Me hammering the spout into the maple tree
We received the metal buckets, lids, and tapping spouts in the mail in January. You can't start tapping (drilling a hole in the maple tree and pounding a metal spout into the hole) into the trees until late March and the month of April. The temperature needs to be below freezing at night and above freezing during the day.

Cici hooking the bucket
We went to work several weeks ago tapping each tree and the girls helped us put the bucket and lid on each spout. The temperature was supposed to be perfect for this task that weekend, but it never really crept above freezing.

A family portrait

The experience was completely exciting for the girls, especially this last weekend when we came down to buckets of sap! They ran to us yelling "it's full!" Saturday morning, Craig woke up at 8:00 a.m. and started a fire outside. We had managed to collect way over 12 gallons of sap and this would take a lot of time to boil.

My handsome fire man

To make the syrup you need to boil it to 218.6 degrees F. Most professional Sugar Bushes (maple syrup farms) have a Sugar Shack designed to easily boil the sap outdoors. The steam that the boiling produces is massive and if it is done indoors could leave a messy sugary residue on everything.

The sap in it's original form

Our plan since we had only one fire, was to boil the sap and continue adding sap as it evaporated until our 12 gallons were left to one of these large pots on the open fire. The sap to syrup ratio is 40 to 1 - in other words, it takes a lot of sap to make one ounce of syrup!

Almost to the right tempature!

The change in color is the sap processing over into the maple syrup. At 5 p.m. we finally boiled down the 12 gallons of sap and poured what was left into the largest kitchen pot and took it indoors. By now the steam was minimal, so the chances of the sticky residue were slim (although we still ended up with a bit on our stove). Once the sap boiling temperature hits 218.6 degrees - the sap is now syrup. We were quite amazed at the process, being our first time and completely going into this blind! We poured the sap into the maple syrup containers and ended our evening with this:

Pancakes and Syrup!

Have you been to a Sugar Bush?
When you come to visit, will you?!
What do you eat with your pancakes?


Jan said...

So jealous. Seriously. I love pure maple syrup and those containers. You guys have all the fun. I can't get over your world vs. mine. You are living in the most beautiful place.

Jenny said...

Maple syrup sounds yummy. How wonderful that your family has learned to how to make it.

Nicole said...

Sounds like so much fun! I love the idea of harvesting from the land. And who doesn't love pure maple syrup! Very jealous!

Jennfer said...

Yes, I will eat syrup when I come to visit. Love the tins. I recognize one of them. Did mom and dad give you the cabin shaped one? cute, cute,

Janiece said...


jenn said...

i love this post! and the little tins are so cute!

mommy nurse said...

What fun! These are great memories with the kids! and you can't beat the photos that go with them.

Melinda said...

Wow, who knew it was such a process. No wonder it is kind of pricey to have pure maple syrup. Way to go!

dani said...

YUMMMMMM-O!!! michelle, i can smell it cooking, mmmm... i love fresh whipped butter on pumpkin pecan pancakes with maple syrup:P... bacon on the side:D
ps and an ice-cold glass of milk!!!

linda said...

You never cease to amaze me...I'm in awe of your family's talents! Seriously, what fun, fun, fun for your girls!

Elise said...

Hi Michelle

Talk about mouth watering fun. Thank you for enlightening me on the process, I never knew this is what was involved. What a memorable experience for your girls.

I am so excited to see your silhouette tutorial. I have just printed it out and this is a project that I am really looking forward to doing. Thank you so much for sharing this, it looks user friendly and very inspiring.

Lots of love

PS We received your gorgeous hats and absolutely love them. I have emailed you some photos. Thank you so much for these beautiful gifts.

Marie said...

It is like something straight out of an LM Montgomery novel. Wonderful! And so successful! I can't believe how much you got!

Cristin said...

Yum...brings back memories of living in New Hampshire...

Courtney said...

YUM-O for sure! So...there are some good things about living in the cold...fresh REAL maple syrup, my mouth is seriously watering!Sorry I've been so out of the loop...I love to see your Happy Face, missed you!

Laura said...

Some moms teach their girls to make pancakes...you taught them how to make syrup. You totally rock!

jenny said...

That sounds like quite an adventure for syrup. You look so great in your family photo!

michelle said...

Yummy! That looks sooo good. :)

Barb said...

What an amazing family project. I'm so impressed.