Monday, March 14, 2016

2016 Sugaring Season Wrap Up (and... "How to Preserve Your Syrup")

This weekend we wrapped up a busy season of Maple Sugaring! Although our season was only about 4 weeks long, the weather conditions during those four weeks were absolutely perfect for maple sap flow... cold nights, warmer days. From our nine taps, we were gathering anywhere from 4 to 12 gallons per day! We had so much sap coming in, we actually ran out of places to store it. Sap must be kept cold, or it will spoil, so we had our spare fridge and freezer filled, as well as our chest freezer, and still couldn't find space for all that was coming in. We did a couple of mid-week boils, but still had to dump a few buckets that we had no room to store. We did five boils total, turning about 112 gallons of sap into over two gallons of syrup.

Last year, we only produced about 2 quarts of syrup, so there really wasn't a need to preserve it. A few pancake breakfasts with our big family, and it was all gone. But this year, we have enough that we'll be able use it through out the year! In order to keep it fresh, we canned our syrup in mason jars. I read a few different things about this... some say you can just pour the hot syrup into the sterile jars, and call it a day. But, I tend to be a bit paranoid about food poisoning (reasonable, yes?) so I chose to process my jars in a hot water bath, the same as one would with jam, pickles or apple butter.

Now that the last of our syrup is all canned up, it's time for my least favorite part of maple sugaring... the clean up. I'm currently working on cleaning all our equipment... the buckets, taps, tubing, etc... so we can store them away for next year. It's not really fun. But... the end of maple season means we're onward to our next adventures here on the Homestead. SPRING is about to begin, so we'll be starting our garden, tending our beehive and enjoying more time outdoors. So much to look forward to!

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