Mar 29, 2011

Boiling Sap: Our Set-up

Our first batch of finished maple syrup! It took many hours to produce but is so satisfying to see, smell, and taste!!
Each batch seems to go a little bit smoother as we figure things out as we go. Here is our basic set up using a double propane turkey fryer that we borrowed from Pat's dad.

My "clothespin" can has now been re-purposed as a pre-heater for the cold sap. The sap is poured through a filter (an old shirt) and then slowly leaks out of two small holes into each pot. The sap warm as it sits in the can and the slow leak ensures we do not "kill the boil".

Here is another view of our set up. We decided to put up this small tent to keep the falling snow out of the pots. It also helps to keep out the pine needles and debri from the trees next to us. The chair is for brief moments of sitting! It's been too cold to move far from the pots warmth anyway!!

A night time pic of the steam in our little tent and Pat checking the progress!

Set up #2 was given to us by a friend of Pat and seems to work pretty well if Pat is home to get the fire going. I cannot seem to figure it out!! Once the fire is going... the pan on the left is used for warming and then ladeled into the pan on the right which we try to keep at a continuous boil. This method has some flaws, the ash from the fire below seems to find it's way through small cracks and into the boiling sap. The small cracks would not have been there if the pan that came with it was useable but after several attempts at repairing a crack in the bottom we went with these two cheap-o turkey roasting pans instead. We continuously skim the gunk out and it gets filtered two more times before bottling so the ash does not end up in the finished product. Also our wood is not dry (lesson learned!) and so we sometimes have a hard time keeping a continuous boil.

It is most definitely my favorite method though because it is WARM! There also seems to be more action involved with this system and keeping busy helps you forget the frigid air.

This pic shows our sap storage barrel that was also donated to the cause by some friends. Pat continues to pack snow around it so that the sap will stay fresh throughout the week until we are ready to boil again.

Our total so far is 4 1/2 gallons of finished syrup! My goal is to have 5 gallons stored away to use for eating and cooking throughout the year. We are hoping for anohter 2 weeks of the season and so are definitly going to reach our goal, even after giving alot away! We are so thankful!

"And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food." -Genesis 2:9

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kellys:
    sorry about the hole in the pan..I used 4 brownie pans when I did it last time .
    Also I filled the bottom of the stove with inch and a half stone so the coals were higher to start with...looks like we know why the stuff costs so much at the
    keep up the good work. Stephen