What an awesome weekend!
It was nice to see the sun back out in full force Saturday as I tapped my first maple tree. Of course with modern technology, I used a power drill to get the hole going. I know, I didn't use the traditional hand drill but may be next time :)
After tapping the tree, cutting a hole in my sap collector (empty milk gallon), and taste testing the sap coming out, I tapped two more trees. After four hours the (product placement) Booth Bros milk jug already had about a third or half of a gallon in it! I emptied one of the others and had probably close to one gallon of sap, or just short of that amount.
I boiled the sap on my stovetop indoors, opening up the windows and putting the fan on in the kitchen to alleviate some of that evaporation and increased humidity. I was told by several people that the sap turns into a syrup consistency pretty quickly so I was on top of it as it approached two hours on the stove.
I downsized the pot size twice, to eliminate too shallow of a sap depth on the high heat burner. By the time I started to get down to the thick consistency, I boiled it just a little too much. It seemed fine when I bottled the syrup and filtered it, however when I took it out of the fridge after cooling it had hardened to a consistency thicker than honey, probably closer to maple candy.
Oh well! It was a test batch to try out the process and not ruin a bunch of the sap. Still though even with its gummy consistency, it is so good! I may or may not have put it on some Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I did boil down another batch Sunday night and checked it Monday, but I did the opposite. I didn't boil it down enough. So I'm learning as you can see. But what a fun hobby that is.
-Meteorologist Steve Glazier