Once again we're crashing the Harvest Monday party with the only thing we "harvest" during the winter--maple syrup!
A period of warm(ish) days and cool nights stimulates the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) trees to start transporting sap up from their roots. The sap is not at all like pine sap, but really is water with +/- 1.5% sugar. The benchmark is 40:1 sap to finished product.
As has been the case in recent years, our warming period began in mid-February. On the 13th we placed the usual four taps in the large trees in front of the barn. I've described our small-scale process in detail in some older posts, so if you're interested you can look here, here, and here. Just 8 days later we had collected all the sap that we estimated we needed and removed the taps. The result was around two and a quarter quarts of light amber syrup, which The Kitchen Goddess canned in pint jars.
This is enough for our needs for the year. And, as always, the local high school's forestry students tap our "sugar bush" (maple grove) as they do in many other parts of town. This year we estimated they had 37 taps scattered around the property. They typically collect for a month, so if our 4 taps over eight days yielded a half-gallon, you can imagine what 37 for a month produces. At the end of the season they leave us a quart in payment--welcome, but not necessary. We enjoying having the "trespassers" in the woods. Too bad they have to hop a big stone wall carrying full buckets! But they're young.
Not only is there nothing like pure maple syrup on your pancakes and waffles, we get a kick out of doing it ourselves. Really all I do is drill some holes; TKG has the tedious job of tending the boil. I'm grateful!
Thanks for reading, and we will see you in the spring with green harvests! Thanks to Dave at Our Happy Acres for continuing to host Harvest Monday.