Along the Grapevine

Making Maple Syrup

14 Comments

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Since tapping a couple of sugar maples last week, the weather has been mostly below freezing, so until today there have just been a few hours of collecting the sap. Today, with relatively seasonal temperatures, we were able to collect two large pots worth (5 gallons each) of sap and have a go at boiling it down to make syrup. The result is 1 1/4 litre from the first pot, and about 3/4 litre from the second. The second is thicker and came dangerously close to crystalizing.

If  you are thinking of tapping your own trees, this site has good pictures and instructions on how to do it. As for the cooking down, we strained the sap through a clean, wet tea towel. For fuel we used up left over propane gas, hooked it up to the base of our turkey frier, and boiled it gently for about an hour.

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You can also do it over any open charcoal or wood fire. It needs to be done outside, as there is a lot of steam, sticky steam, released. Once it was boiled down considerably, to about 2 litres, we brought it inside, strained it again and cooked it even more gently on the stove top for another half hour.

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I then strained it again through a coffee filter into sterilized jars. It was a much faster and easier process than I had thought, although it has to be watched constantly as it can boil very hot and spill over if you are not careful.

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After all the time spent outdoors, I was not up for baking, but was up for a cocktail to celebrate our success at mastering this art. This recipe is from Serious Eats where you will find a number, 12 to be exact, of cocktails using maple syrup. I chose the one for which I had all the ingredients for today – and it turned out beautifully.

Simply measure 1/2 oz syrup, 1 1/2 oz rye, 3/4 oz lemon juice and 1 fresh egg white into a shaker and shake for about 20 seconds. Add 1 ice cube and shake another 10 seconds. Strain into a glass and add a few drops of angostura bitters on top. I am using the leftover egg yolk to make pancake batter for tomorrow morning which will be served with our own home-made maple syrup.

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Hope to try some of the others soon, and maybe even add a few of my own.

Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

14 thoughts on “Making Maple Syrup

  1. So great that you can make your own maple syrup. I’d have loved to give it a try, but no sugar maple trees on our property. Just one small silver maple and a few Japanese maples, not the kinds used for tapping I understand. Btw, Hilda, are you up for co-hosting FF10? Julianna is in, so it’d be the two of you co-hosting if you’d agree to do it.

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  2. Absolutely. I will be off for a day trip on Sat. but I don’t think that should be a problem. Would love to help out. Just let me know exactly what to do.
    And yes, making syrup was fun. There are lots of trees you can tap, but a small silver and Japanese (which are so pretty) may not be among them. I was hoping to get my hands on a black walnut, and birch which is tappable just after the maple season.

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  3. Wow, home-made maple syrup! Such a hard work, doing all the boiling outdoor in freezing cold, but it must taste fantastic though!

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  4. Thanks. Actually, it was not very hard work, and the weather was lovely. We sat outside, in the shelter of our Garaj Mahal entrance, and really enjoyed it. And having blueberry buckwheat pancakes with syrup for breakfast. Not sure why we never did this before.

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  5. thank you for visiting my blog! greetengs from Italy!!!

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  6. I love it when something you’ve been putting off turns out to be less work than anticipated. I’m envious of your maples, but very glad to hear spring is arriving for you. I’ve been foraging elderberries, haws and rowan today, despite being on holiday in New Zealand. Really, apart from the fauna, it could be in the lake district for the edibles they have here. Who knew?

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  7. Jealous! That really is the main word that comes to mind. I’ve hardly seen any snowflakes this year, let alone maple trees. How fabulous it must be to eat your own maple syrup!

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  8. Wow!!! I would love to have my own maple tree! This is so cool and saves sooooo much money too!

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  9. wow! maple syrup! kind of fairy tale to me! it sounds fantastic and yummy. I only tried the one from the shop. and never home made.

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  10. Thanks. It is kind of an experience – hope we can do it again. My blog is mostly about using what you find in your own back or front yard, so I felt obliged to give maple syrup a go. Glad I did.

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  11. Now that looks interesting! Never thought I could make my own maple syrup before.

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  12. Pingback: Foam-enting Interest in Maple Syrup | Along the Grapevine

  13. OMG!!! Homemade maple syrup!!! I can’t imagine how good it would be. This is awesomeeeeee🙂

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