Believe me when I tell you, my friends, that when I wrote this post yesterday, I had no idea I would be writing this post today.
As I was cooking it down, the sap was looking awfully syrup-y, and was wanting to boil over, so we decided to finish off a batch of syrup last night.
We made syrup!
FAQ (OK, so no one's been asking any questions, but I'm sure that's just because I've been doing such a good job of explaining everything. These are the questions I'm sure you would ask if I didn't take the time to answer them now. You're welcome).
How did you know the syrup was done?
Well, here's the deal. As we're cooking the sap to concentrate it, it's mostly water, so it boils at around 212*. As the sugar becomes more concentrated, the boiling point starts to rise, and when the syrup is 66% sugar, the boiling temp is 7* higher. So when the temperature of our syrup reached 219*, we knew it was done.
Why does the syrup turn color, and where does the maple taste come from?
The color and flavor are due to a Maillard reaction. You can read about it here (thanks to my brother for the link). And no, I didn't know this, although I should have because of all that organic chem-misery I had to take.
How many gallons of sap did it take to make how many pints of syrup?
We cooked a little less than 10 gallons of sap, and it yielded 1.5 pints of syrup.
Are you going to keep collecting sap?
Yes, we're going to keep collecting sap as long as it's still flowing. The combination of below freezing temps at night along with above freezing temps during the day is what makes the sap flow, and as of right now, that's the pattern we're in. As soon as any buds pop, though, the gig is up.
Will you get enough for another batch?
I don't know. I sure hope so :) We've got another 2 gallons of sap ready to go, and I think we've got at least a week left to collect more, so there's a pretty good chance. We'll need about 7 gallons to make a pint of syrup.
May I please have some of your homemade syrup? Please? Pretty please?
Well, if you happen to be here while we're eating it, then yes, of course you can try some. I doubt it'll last long around here, though!
This is very interesting. Where can I read all of your sappy syrup posts?
What are you having for breakfast tomorrow?
Pancakes with homemade maple(boxelder) syrup, of course!