Monday, April 4, 2011

About Maple Syrup, the Way We Do It

Bees, Birds, Berries and Blooms asked in a comment on yesterday's post

"How much syrup do you make in one year? Is it only in the spring? How many maple trees do you have?"

Which caused me to ask The Husband, since I don't know nuthin'.   (Except that you only tap maple trees in the spring, as the sap is rising again from the roots to the branches.  That's about the extent of it.)

He says that this year is a little bit of an outlier from the past few years, since his father is out of town for a month or so, which has diminished the number of trees tapped.  According to The Hubs, we have about 3 acres of sugarbush -- this year 95 taps, last year 150 taps.   Some trees are tapped twice or three times if they're really huge, so you count by the number of taps, not the number of trees.   If you run into anyone who makes a real business of sugaring, they'll tell you that we're a really small operation.  We still hang buckets -- no tubing strung from tree-to-tree for us.  No reverse-osmosis machine -- just an evaporator.   It's a labor of love, not really of economics for us.  (And by us, I mean my in-laws and husband, of course.  I bring pizza up to The Lake to feed everyone; we all have our roles.) 

We generally make between 15-20 gallons of maple syrup each spring.  This year may be a bit lower than that, but it is soooo light and sweet this year, it's amazing.  If that sounds like not very much syrup, bear in mind that it takes approximately 40 gallons of maple sap to = 1 gallon of maple syrup.  That's what all the boiling in the evaporator does -- it just reduces the sweet watery goodness down to pancake-worthy gold.   It's actually very pleasant to mind the evaporator during that time, though; it's warm by the wood fire, the steam is sweet, and you have plenty of time to contemplate the universe.  And place bets on when the last blizzard of the season will strike.  Easter?  Mother's Day?  Dast we dream --- {are we done with snow?}   *shhh!  don't say it out loud!*  

If all this is new to you, you might want to peruse my primer on our wee hobby syrup-making outfit from 2010. 

Bob and Baby M check out the evaporator

Thanks for the questions, BBB&B!  Hope this answers them!


1 comment:

Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms said...

Thanks! That was so fun and interesting! 40 gallons down to 20. I didn't know a tree could be tapped more than once. I really appreciate the lesson in syrup making. Sounds like a great family event. Kind of like branding when I was growing up. Thank you!