February 24, 2018
Maple season is a hectic time. Despite the usual challenges of scheduling conflicts, weather, and sap availability, this year was even more complicated with home improvement projects. Last weekend was spent painting the first floor in a rush before the floors were to be refinished and loosing access to the kitchen for a few days. Since most of the maple syrup making process happens outside, I spent the better part of Tuesday boiling 80 gallons of sap down to about 3 gallons of near syrup before calling it quits.I stored this is refrigerator until I would be able to finish and bottle inside. Being a standard work day, my only companion was my dog Coco, who was also banished to the yard. The sap was still flowing on the trees, and I new another boil was in order, but the forecast was a rainy weekend.
Saturday looked to be the day with the least rain, at least during daylight, so I woke up before dawn and traveled home. (We had been staying at my sister-in-law's while the floors dried). Everything went well as I focussed on keeping the fire hot and all pans boiling while constantly replenishing sap. The morning started out sunny and warm, but period rain added a few more drops of water that I needed to boil away. I decided to boil a bit less so that I could be done before dark and the harder rain that was predicted, and boild about 65 gallons to about 3 gallons of near syrup.
The positive side of doing these partial boils, is that it reduces the marathon day spent on the process. Also, letting the solution settle for a few days allows for any sediment to fall to the bottom, where after filtering, boiling, filtering, and bottling, will result in a clearer syrup.
Now I can look forward to a rainy day to do some bottling inside.