Thursday, March 15, 2012

Maple Syrup means Spring*

It may not be the official calendar date for the beginning of spring but early on Tuesday with mist laying heavy on the ground and geese flying over head, I could feel a change in the air.

The sugar shack showing through the early morning mist.

For a week, the sap has been rising in the maple trees as the temperatures crept and even leapt above 0C.

On a previous sunny day, you can see the sap dripping from the tree.

Gardening partner started a fire in our inherited evaporator. The kids gathered round.

The previous owners made this crafty invention which is an evaporator/smoker depending on how you place the chimney. In this picture, the boiling pans are removed.

The sun burned off the mist brining not the drizzly day we had been promised but one shining with beautiful golden light. We are nearing the sweet spot of spring when temperatures warm but before the biting bugs come out.

Sap gets boiling.

Sap was added to the evaporator. For those not in the know about how maple syrup is made. The trick is to boil it down the slightly sweet sap into a thick sugary concoction. It takes approximately 40L of sap to make 1L of maple syrup.

My kids thought it looked like a volcano here.

After boiling down all day, we brought a couple pots of near-syrup indoors to finish the job. I have about 4L of maple syrup to be bottled and stored. This whole adventure will begin again sometime next week, weather holding.

* These are pictures from last week. This week there is almost no more snow and temperatures in the summery range of 26C. Crazy!! We probably boiled down the last of the sap for the year, today.


Urban tapping: There are some beautiful maple lined streets. Those trees are well branched and mature meaning lots of sap production. I have this fantasy of these blocks getting together for sugaring in the spring. Tapping supplies can be gotten inexpensively on the various seller sites but make sure you get food grade plastic, cast aluminum or something else that isn't so antique it contains lead. Or you could make your own with a hollowed out staghorn sumac stem (some people are allergic to this shrub) and a milk jug.

Not Far From a Tree Toronto organized an urban tapping: They blog about the ups and downs of this sort of project.

1 comment:

CallieK said...

We didn't do a syrup run this year with Not Far From the Tree but the temperatures have been so mild, it's probably for the best- it would have been a short run since we've been well above seasonal for weeks now!