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How to make maple syrup

A brief history of maple syrup

The Native Americans of the United States and Canada seem to be the first creators of maple syrup, taking the liquid from maple trees and removing the excess fluid. Even the english chemist Robert Boyle notice this discovery on a trip he made to the United States in 1663. He saw the the Natives Americans were creating a “sweet and saccharine substance”. ”

excerpt taken from

While living in a mature sugar maple forest, we wondered if we too could tap the trees that surrounded us,  to make our very own maple syrup. We knew the process in concept, by having visited so many sugar shacks in our past. We understood that  in order to make syrup you primarily need to boil the water down until most of the water content has evaporated. But that was as far as our knowledge went on the subject.

     Using a manual hand drill, we drilled a 1/2″ hole and inserted a metal spout into the tree. Collecting the sap was exciting, especially for the boys. They would wake each morning to see how much sap had collected in the metal buckets hanging from several trees dispersed on our land. They each dipped their fingers in to taste the sweet water.  We collected several gallons, please note: it’s a ratio of 32:1, meaning you need 32 gallons of maple water in order to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. 1 gallon= 3.78 litres – 32×3.78=120.96 litres of maple water to make 3.78 litres. 

      Every time we emptied a bucket, we passed it through a sieve to eliminate all debris that might have fallen into the bucket. To avoid this problem, you can purchase covers that attach on one end of the hanging bucket. Without these, we just had to add this simple step. Once we had gathered enough sap, we started the process of boiling it down. This takes an enormous amount of electric energy, we had started on the stovetop only to realize 4 hours later, that just under half of the water had evaporated. Our stovetop was on maximum the entire time. So we eventually moved our whole operation to the living room cast iron stove fireplace. *Not recommended* Because of the high heat needed, we  involutarily set fire to the inside of our chimney and had to call on the service of our local fire department to help us extinguish it. To our boys, this made up for a very exciting day. Not only did  they  make a homemade treat, they got to see up close, the arrival by siren of the entire fire department fleet.  In the end there was no damage done to our home, only to Dave’s ego, who had set up the living room operation.

So it’s important to note *NO INSIDE BOILING* (unless you don’t mind a high electricity bill or you’re confident you won’t set fire to your house).

Ideally you should make an outdoor fire and boil the water there.

You keep boiling the sap never letting it in go below 1 1/2″, you can add more cold water sap as it boils down. Once you have used up all the collected sap, allow it to boil to a syrup consistency. You can use a candy thermometer to precisely check if your water has reached 212 ‘F, but for our sake we just taste tested it until we felt we had a good consistency. Then pour the hot syrup carefully through another sieve into glass jars. We used mason canning jars, which seal themselves with the high content of heat.  Refrigerate if you don’t follow the instruction on canning for storage.

How delicious to pour your very own homemade maple syrup on fresh homemade crepes, pancakes or waffles.mmmmm! What a treat!

Bon Appetit!

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