We have never made maple syrup before. But, there’s a first time for everything. After reading about sugaring from an overwhelming amount of sources, we decided to run with it. On January 17th, we tested our sugar maples, and the sap was definitely running! (Above: Channing drills tree (left) and sap running from hole (right).)
We ordered supplies, and the next weekend we tapped 20 trees for a test run. We let the sap collect for a few days, and then went back to see what happened. We had collected about 25 gallons of sap, so Channing set up a temporary place to evaporate it and set to work. (Above: Channing getting ready to tap a tree (left) and Channing considering our buckets of supplies (right).)
(Above: Our first pan of sap evaporating, which ended in syrup strictly for personal use.)
We learned several things through our test run. One, we needed a better evaporating set-up. Two, the pot was too small. Three, we needed to tap more trees. Also, we love sugaring!
So, We ordered more taps, new buckets, and better pans and gave it another go.
(Above: new evaporating set-up with better pans, and more of them!)
The next few days, we collected more sap and went about the process of evaporating it into syrup.
(Above: Channing manning the evaporation process)
Very grateful for the help of a friend during the building of a new set-up and the second attempt of evaporating.
(Above: Almost finished sap (left) and finished syrup (right).)
After evaporating it down to nearly finished on the fire, it was finished on the stove top.
After the evaporating is complete, it is then strained into jars (see above).
And, of course, we had to try it out for quality control purposes:
Yum! We’re definitely excited about syrup, and ready to make this operation bigger.