A strange winter continues here in upstate New York. Mostly it has been mild. We have not recieved much snow. The temperatures last week were unseasonably warm. Regardless, it is late February and that means the maple sap is running. How well it is running is the topic of conversation. The truth is we will not know for another week or two how the season went. Today, I get to boil, and boil, and boil. The next timeyou have maple syrup on your pancakes remember some boil 40 gallons of sap for one gallon of syrup. Usually, at this point in the process I wonder why I do this. Mostly, because I like it. There s deep joy in making something for yourself. Maybe it tastes sweeter. My little operartion begins with three maple trees. They are old, wonderful producers.
I think I have found a boiling set up that will allow me boil more than before. With some adjusts of our fire ring I seem to have found space to create enough heat to boil and to maintain that temperature for longer periods of time.
I only do the crude boiling outside. I “finish” inside. I use a candy thermometer to confirm it has change from sap to syrup. I then bottle it. At the end of the season I spend two weeks cleaning the kitchen. While, the syrup smells nice ittends to leave a sticky film over the kitchen. Two weeks usually is enough timeto find those surprising spots,and allows me to ponder “how in the world did that get there.”
Time to add another log to the fire.
Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.