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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Photo Essay of Sap to Syrup

This is the big kettle used for gathering sap.  Although the top of the Harmon (made in Pennsylvania, USA!) Pellet Stove does not get hot enough to boil the sap, it does heat it up nicely.  Those skulls are from some of the deer I've shot.  The picture of the dog is a painting I did.

I use one of these reusuable coffee filters to strain the sap that is poured from the jugs into the collection kettle.  It strains out flies, bugs, ants, and moths all of which like to drink sap.  It doens't work for filtering the minerals from the syrup, however.  For that you'd use wool.
The warmed sap is then added to the boiling sap on the stovetop.  As it boils down a couple of inches, I add more.  It takes about an hour to boil a gallon of sap to syrup this way.  I gathered three gallons yesterday.  Do the math.
Once all the sap has been added to the stovetop kettle and has started to turn to syrup, it needs to be watched constantly.  This still takes some time, so then I sit on the kitchen counter and play my banjo.  I try not to get too involved with the song in case of a boil over.

1 comment:

  1. Well, here is an accidental discovery.
    We boiled a potful of sap too long; it foamed up into a gooey-looking caramel-colored mass, just short of burning. This cooled and crystallized into 3/4" of sugar. Decided it would be okay to just add more sap and heat on a very low burner till it dissolved again.

    When this potful cooked down into syrup, it was darker and more intensely flavored than the previous batch. Left it a little thinner. This is how Grad B Dark Amber was originally discovered by the Algonquins. Yum.

    I still have no idea how some Brazilian beans fell off a tree, spread themselves out, fermented, roasted through proximity to some campfire,became ground, and somehow lofted themselves into a random bark soup pot, thus engendering the discovery of coffee.


Comments on this blog are welcome. Ask questions, post your own experiences about the subject, post recipes, helpful tips, stories. Thanks! ~Bev