Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's sugaring time!

My family has a great hobby tapping the maple trees this time of year to make maple syrup!  We have put in 72 taps and buckets in our neighborhood.  In the past we have used a sugar house at my brother-in-law's farm, but this year we moved the operation to our house.  It is being a lot of fun to have it all here.  We have collected around 70 gallons of sap so far and started boiling it down two days ago.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!  Last evening we had the first taste of syrup.  We have boiled about 16 hours so far.  We strain the sap, put in a preheater pan, then slowly add it to the main pan.  The main pan has "lanes" which the sap goes down as the sugar content is concentrated.  Once in the last "lane" it becomes syrup.  Of course, one of the best parts is testing it to see if it is syrup yet!  There is nothing like that real maple syrup taste, with a hint of smoke from the wood fire that made it.  In past years we have made as much as 14-15 gallons of syrup.  It depends a lot on the weather though.  The perfect weather is cold nights (below freezing) and mild days (above freezing).  This makes the sap travel up and down the tree.
I grew up on the fake stuff from the grocery store.  It only took one taste to be a maple syrup snob!  Sugaring is my favorite farm activity.  Seeing as I didn't grow up on a farm, but my hubby did, I have learned a lot.  I will include a couple of shots of the buckets on our trees at the bottom of my blog page.  Check them out!
Take care!

No comments: