Monday, February 24, 2014

Maple Sugaring for the first time

Listening to:

Boiling: Sap!

Favorite tool we're using:

Loving: every moment of it.

This is our first time Maple Sugaring. In the past I haven’t seen much of a point. Not that I don’t love maple syrup, but we didn’t use a lot of it. As I started to make nearly everything from scratch, I started using maple syrup and honey virtually exclusively (instead of cane sugar) - and a lot more of it since we were making all our deserts and treats instead of buying them.

Since we are trying to continue to reduce costs and make the best use of what is available to us – we decided we should tap the maple trees around here. If we can get a gallon for our year, that will be great!

Buckets with wholes cut out to fit over the taps, covers as well.
We asked some friends at church about how they maple sugar and a few last logistical questions we had. We asked where they recommended getting the equipment for a cheap price and they ended up leading us to their nephew's house where he sold us some previously used taps and homemade bucket contraptions. They work great! Fantastic to get them used instead of new!

Noah and Daddy tapped most of the trees together. Joel tapped more on another day and moved a few unproductive taps to different trees.

First small batch!
This weekend seemed pretty good. We tapped 10 trees and ended up with about 3 1/2 cups of boiled down grade AA syrup. I didn’t even know there was an AA, but here is an explanation of the different grades of syrup:

Self-Sufficiency Edited by Abigail Gehring
We used the sugaring section in this book as our guide. It was a Christmas present from Joel’s parents a couple years ago and we’ve used it quite a few times. It is very handy.

First filtering to get out large debris

Boiling it down.
It’s not recommended that you boil down the syrup indoors because of all the steam, but we are doing a little at a time, using the overhead stove fan (that vents to the outside) and opening windows. I think I’ll start using the dehumidifier too. The only time to really process for us is at night, so doing it outside isn’t really an option.

We mainly want enough for our family and a little to share. And if the trees are here and we can tap them, we might as well give it a shot.

It’s been really fun and since I haven’t had sweetness in the house in a couple months, it’s pretty awesome. (I ran out of honey, sugar, and maple syrup and didn’t buy any more.)

So far, this is what it has been used for:

Eating frozen blueberries with a drizzle of maple syrup

Using the extra syrup and thawed blueberries at the bottom of the glass to make maple, blueberry milk. SO good.
And then I made blueberry pancakes today when Joel came home for lunch.

Delicious. It's fun to try new things and make use of what's available in the backyard!

I've shared this at:
Simple Life Sunday Blog Hop
The Barn Hop
The HomeAcre Hop
Simple Saturday Blog Hop
From the Farm Blog Hop
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  1. No pun intended but trying this process at least once is definitely on my Bucket List.

  2. lol. Well, it is really fun and definitely special to realize it came from a source that would otherwise be untapped. ;-) But, really, I love making use of things that are free, and unwanted by others.




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