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Within the confines of this blog, you will find bits and pieces of the life and times of myself, my family and friend dear and near., far and wide, few and far between. You will find bits and pieces of my world, tho small to some, but huge to me. You will find everything from 'soup to nuts',; recipes, hobbies,crafts, gardenings,loves of my life, GrandLoves-a-Plenty, and even my pets... Sooo, if you can handle family life, enjoy the tour of my 'Stuffings'.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Our Family Plan - Maple Syrupin'

It is That time of year again when the Maple trees are being tapped and the crystal clear sap is turned into Pure Maple Syrup at the Creekside Cabin.
The hygrometer measures, not only when the syrup is syrup, 
but also whether or not it is done to perfection, hot or cold. 
 More about that later.
It's a ' timing ' thing, making syrup.
The weather has to be cool to cold at night,
warming steadily during the day to afford a drip,
drip, drip in the buckets until they are full of that
crystal clear sap.
The sap is collected in 5 gal. buckets that are carried from tree to tree, sap bucket to sap bucket, emptied and strained into 15 gal. barrels.
oops, forgot to downsize this pic.
anyway, from the 15 gal. barrels the sap is pumped into the large tank that has a drip system assembled at the receiving end, dripping the sap into the cooking pan.
The sap runs through copper tubing from the large storage tank and into the cooker which you can barely see due to all the steam off the top of the pan.  The pails in the background are sap warming also.
All of this primitive way of making maple syrup, family style, is done over extremely hot coals under that cooking pan which is about 3 ft. wide by 6 ft. long. and 7 inches deep.
As you can see, there is still a lot of snow, mud and melting going on here, so it gets to be a pretty messy job done outside.  I heard the boys talking about making a cook shack for this part of our operation.  If they are going through all this trouble to cook syrup, then I say, " Heck, Ya! "
Since we do not have the new-fangled, high tech reverse osmosis system of doing this, it takes many hrs. of watching the sap boil~~~
and boil~~~
and boil and roll and skim!~~~
until, finally, it's ready to~~~~
pull the pan off that hot, hot fire, then
place it on another table, lining the pour spout over the 
straining can.  It's an intense moment.
Finally, open the spout and let it pour!
Let the liquid gold strain through the orlon bag and into the clean milk can. 
The syrup is at it's ' near finished ' stage.
The sun is setting on our day, a very long one, 
so the next day,
the syrup was reheated to the ' hygrometer ' point
and canned.  The first batch was that golden glow, 
the second much deeper colored but they both taste
Fantastic of Maple Goodness!
The Ping test to assure the jars have all sealed, and 
we are done with batch #2.
It's a very s l o w process but we do this at the
CABIN, so it's a wonderful thing.
Even in the snow.
Thanks for following our ' family plan.'


Ian H said...

Wow, talk about labour intensive!However, it must be good to be back outdoors again!

Chatty Crone said...

Darla I have no earthly idea why - but this is extremely interesting to me - it is labor intensive - but so worth it. Why is the sap clear and when it cooks turns brown? sandie

jack69 said...

I can really imagine the thrill of making the syrup, and as you said, at the cabin.
The only thing close to this is making sorghum molasses. I was there one time at 5 yrs old, and still remember it. So the memories are much greater there, year after year. It is a camaraderie time, festive and creating something that is Delicious.

((HGS)) Good entry.

Dee said...

I never knew how much work was involved...thanks for sharing the info. I can imagine it smells wonderful....:)

Dar said...

Re: Ian, Yes, very labor intensive but satisfying.
Re: Chatty: the reason the clear sap turns color is due to it's sugar content...Boiling maple sap turns it to syrup over time, thus changing it's coloration.
Re: Jack, you got it. It all happens at the cabin, making it extra memorable...
Re:YES, Dee, it Smells and Tastes out of this world wonderful

Winderly-Winderly said...

Facinating! Thanks for sharing!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I've gone to watch this process at a local nature center--time consuming and HARD work, but you must be so proud of it!

Helen said...

Those jars looks delicious.Very interesting.
Don't know if I have mentioned it or not but my Dad's family used to make sorghum syrup when I was small. They grew the cane, cut it and squeezed the juice out with a big thing using large horses going in circles. A person had to feed the cane into that squeezer. Then came the cooking with a big pan similar to what ya'll use. Pretty syrup and delicious. I did not like the taste of what they called Ribbon cane. Those were large purple stalks of cane and the syrup had a darker color and tasted different.

Shug said...

Love this post.....so glad you posted about it. I looked for it on
Sam's Recipe City, but did not find it.

This is really a process....but so worth it I know...


E.C. said...

Awesome, just awesome. Your family (Sisters included) are the most amazing resourceful folks I know.

Maple syrupin', sure looks like a lot of hard cold and hot work... but looks well worth the effort for that tasty nectar to grace a pancake or waffle or biscut or gingerbread or or or...
oh dear, I must get me some maple syrup. lol