We have just three maple trees within a quick walk from the house. But they're big maples with a combined circumference of about 30 feet. This year I thought I'd try tapping them and try my hand at making some maple syrup. I had watched old timers make maple syrup when I was a little kid at our cottage in Baysville and I remembered the basics of the process. I also did some online research and got advice from some local guys who had boiled down their fair share of sap. From start to finish it was a pretty big process, a lot of work, a lot of fun and, once I tasted the end result, completely worth it.
I couldn't resist designing up a quick label.
When the sap gets running at top speed we're talking maybe 40 drops per minute. I was collecting between 6 to 12 litres a day and the sap was really beginning to pile up around the farm. Sap in the fridge, sap in the freezer, sap stored in 6 gallon water jugs outside in the snow . . . . It takes 40 to 50 litres of sap to make just 1 litre of maple syrup so you can never really have enough tree plasma.
I boiled the sap down over a 2 day period over a wood fire. Earlier this winter I had cleared out a small stand of dead cedars so there was no shortage of good easy burning wood at hand. The cedar gave the syrup an incredible smoky and unique flavour and I think it even enhanced its colour.