He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

02 March 2011

Maple Syruping {Part 1}


I cannot fully express the kind of love and trust that is required to make today's post possible. Actually, I lied. I'm completely thrilled that Dear Sweet Hubs is going to make his very first appearance in the blogging world and I'm honored that he's willing to share. {That... and he's been asking to write about his love for all things sweet and sugary since last May when I started this blog.} 
So, without further ado...
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 
After months of this
this 
 and this 
most of us are ready for spring time to arrive.
Since our furry friend in Punxsutawney told us that spring was right around the corner I’ve been even more restless to get outside, till the garden, and see a little bit of life. But before I’m even ready to think about peas and beans, the first harvest of the season is in full swing: Maple Syrup.
Maple season, in this part of Connecticut, lasts anywhere from the middle of February to the first part of April, depending on the weather. Maple syrup is actually FULLY dependent on the weather. The tree has a vascular system of sorts and needs cold nights and warm days to pump its "blood". 
The process starts in the late summer or early fall, when the leaves are still on the trees. I walk around the creek bed, where most of our sugar maples are, and mark them so I can recognize them a few months later when they're naked.
About the middle of February, I go out with a drill and a half inch bit and drill a hole about an inch and a half into the tree and lightly hammer a tap into it. These taps are sold at maple syrup supply stores.
As the sap in the tree moves up and down, it goes into this tap and drips into the bucket that is hanging. This sap looks and tastes like a slightly sweet water, because that's basically what it is. A sugar maple's sap is approximately 97% water/3% sugar. 
Every day these buckets need to be emptied. Sometimes, if the weather conditions are just right, you may need to empty the buckets a couple of times. For me, this is usually a pretty easy process, I just drive beside the trees and empty the buckets into a tank in the back. Not this year though. This year, I had to borrow snowshoes to be able to get to my trees. The picture below is of me hovering over about 3 feet of snow.
Each day I empty those buckets into a couple of  Rubbermaid containers to store until I'm able to boil the sap down to syrup.

The sap to syrup ratio is approximately 40:1. This means that for every 40 gallons of sap that is collected, I will end up with 1 gallon of syrup. The blue tote in the picture above holds 45 gallons of liquid. If this tote was completely full of sap, it would make a little over a gallon of syrup.

My lovely wife is now telling me that I need to cut this short and make it into two posts. Going from tree to table is a marathon, not a sprint.

2 comments:

  1. You two are so cool!
    lucy

    ReplyDelete
  2. I cant wait for part 2!

    Natalie

    ReplyDelete

I always love a good comment.

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