Boil!

Hidden in every February is the coming spring. Right now, there are about twenty-two inches of snow outside. It’s slowly melting in the Fools Spring that we get around now. My path out to the maple trees is getting slick and icy as I trod the snow down. We begin the process of turning the maple sap into syrup, sap bucket by sap bucket.
Every day now starts with monitoring the expected highs and lows of temperature. The warmth of the day and the night’s chill tell me how we are progressing towards spring. The range of temperatures indicates the rise and fall of sap and allows me to guess more accurately about how much sap I can expect. To the newly initiated, it seems like serendipity. But it’s the annual progress of the tree towards leafing out and growth. Every year there are repeating shapes in the pattern of growth. For those of us who sugar, it all starts this way.
Mine is a cottage industry comfortable on my kitchen stove. We tap, lug buckets, and then it’s boil, boil, boil. Eventually, the sweet syrup is poured into mason jars for us to enjoy.

16 Replies to “Boil!”

  1. Thats a lot of snow. We rarely get more than a couple of inches here. How wonderful to draw off your own maple sap. I do the same with birch sap in spring, with a few pine needles it makes a wonderful fresh and healthy tea.

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    1. a lot of people use a candy refractometer to gauge sugar content. Some people apply a bead of fluid on a plate, and when they can cut it consider it ready. I watch the surface of the boil. There gets to be a time when it thickens, and sugar literally coats the boil with an almost oily sheen. Then I use a spatula to take up a tiny bit. I call it done when it no longer freely runs off the spatula but clings to it…very scientific!

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      1. I have NO luck making candies/syrups. I can’t seem to get it to the right stage ever. What is your favourite thing to put your syrup on/in other than maybe the obvious pancake?

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  2. I only use the best quality maple syrup I can find here in the PNW. None of that awful manufactured junk and definitely not sugar free garbage. Good maple syrup is expensive so I don’t get to use it often but definitely worth it. Love your description of how you make it. Priceless. It would almost be worth 2 ft of snow…maybe not. πŸ˜‰

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