We collect our sap from a small sugarbush in the back of our property. About 30 maple trees are tapped in late winter as the temperatures begin to approach 32F during the day. Once the daytime temperatures are above freezing, the sap starts to flow! Each tap drains into a 5 gallon food grade bucket. When the buckets are full, they’re loaded onto a sled and pulled to our outdoor homemade evaporator. The evaporator consists of a broad but shallow pan on top of a large stove which is heated using wood from our property as fuel. The evaporator is where excess water is removed from the sap in bulk by boiling (and boiling, and boiling!) for hours, finally leaving a more concentrated version of sap with a higher sugar and mineral content. Next, the liquid is brought inside for the final boil, where the temperature is closely monitored. As the remaining water is boiled off, the sugar content increases and so does the boiling point of the liquid. Once the temperature has climbed to 7F above the original boiling point, the syrup is ready! It is then filtered to remove excess minerals (called niter) and maintained at approximately 180F while being added to self-sealing bottles. This entire process continues for as long as daily temperatures fluctuate between above freezing during the day and below freezing at night. Once the trees develop buds, taps are removed and maple syrup season is over!
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