Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pinehaven Maple Syrup

 At the moment I suppose I should call it "Pinehaven Maple Sap" but that doesn't quite have the same ring to it. So, thinking positively, I'm going on the assumption that we'll turn this bucket of clear sap into something thick, caramel-colored and wonderful.

 But first an explanation  During this week's snowstorm, one of the results was limbs down everywhere. I've been cleaning them up every time I've walked outside, carried them to the meadow and added them to the brush pile I built there for that purpose  But there was one large limb, split halfway out from the trunk, whose fall was arrested by the ground itself. So there it hung.

 Until this morning. Bob visited and the two of us went out to breakfast and then returned for a game of cards with Mom. Afterwards I set up the ladder (which Bob steadied ... it was sitting in ice and snow) and I cut the offending branch off. We carried it in pieces to the meadow.
 But even before-hand, I noticed the wound was dripping quite profusely. Maple sap, though I, can be turned into maple syrup. Only one way to tell. So I hung a plastic bucket on the limb (see it just to the left of the ladder?) and left it there at about 10 a.m. I came back about 2 pm - a mere four hours - and found something well in excess of a gallon in that amount of time.

 Now, is this a sugar maple tree? I doubt it. So I tasted the sap and it is watery and ever-so-slightly sweet. It'll do ... if it doesn't poison me.

 So we divided it in half and began boiling the first part in a large metal pot. If I have a gallon (and I think I have quite a bit more than that), I should be able to produce a little over 3 ounces of maple syrup. There's usually a 40:1 ratio between the two so 128 / 40 = 3.2. This will require a lot of energy to produce a filth of a pint of maple syrup.
 But it will be Pinehaven Maple Syrup, a sweet unknown to the world until this time. Isn't it worth the extra electricity for that?

Follow up: The next day (03/10/13) ... Pinehaven Maple Syrup! It worked! We boiled the maple sap (about a gallon) over a 7.5 hour period. I predicted we'd end up with about 3 ounces of maple syrup. Instead, as the tree is probably not a sugar maple and the sap has less sugar content we got just a little more than 2 ounces. It's wonderfully sweet and absolutely maple flavored. Maybe we'll try it again next year ... but on a larger scale.

March 20, 2013 Follow-up:

 The sap seemed to slow as the temperature dipped. But today, which has only reached 34° and continues very windy, I saw that the sap was not only flowing but FREEZING. I don't think I've ever seen an icicle made of pure maple sap before, but here it is ...

 And here's a view later that evening and from a different angle:

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