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}

23 March 2011

Maple Syruping {Part 3}

Alright, so we’ve tapped the trees, collected the sap, and boiled the sap outside on the evaporator.
Once I get the sap level in my pan to be about half an inch deep I pull the pan off of the evaporator and onto some blocks that I stacked up. I do this to quickly stop the boil because if the sap level gets too low it can scorch the pan, or if it gets dry, it can burn a hole in the pan. I then pour the remaining sap into a pan and bring it into the house.
The sap goes into a large soup pot to boil on the stove with a candy thermometer. To reach “syrup”, the sap has to reach 219 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees above the boiling point of water). This is much easier said than done. As sap reaches “almost syrup” stage, it tends to bubble up and try to boil over. You can stop this by touching the bubbles with a stick of butter, or by removing the pot from the heat. Either way, this is something that you have to watch out for, because if the pot overflows, it makes a sticky, nasty mess on the stove top.{The wife and kids usually hide during this point in the boil so that we all continue to get along.}
Once the candy thermometer tells me that I’ve reached 219 degrees, I double-check the “syrupness” by using a hydrometer.
The hydrometer measures the density of the syrup to tell me if its done or not. Basically, there is a red line on the hydrometer and when the hydrometer is dipped into a testing cup, if the red line is below the top of liquid, its not syrup yet.
Once the proper temperature and density has been reached its time to filter. Every time you heat your syrup, sugar sand can form and you want to filter this and other particulates {nice "Bones" reference, dear} out so that you have nothing but pure, clear syrup.
My filtering process is to hang a large conical felt filter above another pot using an inverted tomato cage. This felt filter is filled with two paper filters. I pour the hot sap into the cone and let it drain into the last pot until the flow starts to slow. When it slows, I pull the top paper filter out and carefully pour the syrup into the next paper filter.
I do this because enough particulate has clogged the first paper filter and is not letting enough through. BE VERY CAREFUL HERE. You’re trying to pour syrup that is hotter than the boiling point of water {another good time for the wife and kids to hide}.
I do this again when the second paper filter clogs.
Once the filtering is complete, I pour the finished syrup into food safe containers and the heat from the sap kills any germs that might be in the container and also seals the container tight.
Once the bottles are cool, they go down to the basement to stay dry and cool until the bottles are opened.
All that’s left now is to enjoy!


  1. Thank you!!! i have been waiting for this! I love the Bones reference!


  2. So, how much syrup did you end up with from that batch that you described?


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