Monday, April 6, 2015

Maple Sugaring Wrap-up!

Yesterday, we did our third and final sap boil for the season. What a fun adventure this has been! You can read about the beginning of this adventure here (part one) and here (part 2) We learned a lot along the way, and we will bring that knowledge with us next year, when we do this again. Although it was a lot of work, it really is a fun thing to do as a family.

In the end, we got somewhere around 35 gallons or so of sap, which we turned into a little over 2 quarts of syrup and a half cup of maple sugar (more about that in a moment...) We did end up having to toss a couple of gallons of sap that went bad, and that made us a little sad. But, it was all part of the learning process. We didn't have high expectations for this project, and we did end up with a lot more than we thought we would.

So after two successful batches of syrup, I decided to try my hand at making some maple cream, which is made by simply continuing to boil the sap past the syrup point, until it becomes a creamy spread. Unfortunately, since I'm a novice at this, I accidentally went past the maple cream stage, and so I decided to keep going and turn it into maple sugar!

Boiling boiling boiling, past syrup, past maple cream... 

and on to maple sugar!
To get maple sugar, you have to boil your syrup up to about 250 degrees. I was surprised at how fast it goes from liquid to dry sugar, so if you try this at home, beware. I'd like to tell you we made some great recipe with this, but instead we've been picking away at it, eating it like candy. I'm thinking in the future this stuff would make the most delicious maple sugar cookies. 

Today I'm at the not-so-fun part of Maple Sugaring... the end-of-season clean up! I'm washing out all the buckets, spiles and tubing, so it can all be stored away until next year. Funny to think that when we started this, just one month ago, we still had two-to-three feet of snow on the ground in the backyard! Now, we're down to just a small patch of snow where the largest snowbanks were, and there are little bits of green pushing up through the ground. 

We have two NEW projects coming up in the next few weeks... first, we have our BEES arriving Sunday! Can't wait! After that, it's time to start preparing the garden beds for the new growing season. I love Spring!

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