Tree Tapping 2018
February 4, 2018
The tradition of "Tap-off before Kickoff" has occurred once again, and having teenage boys is starting to pay off. Despite the bickering about whose turn it was to drill or tap at each tree, Scott and Jonathan made quick work of setting up 15 taps and buckets. The season has begun! The temperature is 37 degrees coming off of a freezing night, so nothing is flowing yet, but a few taps seem close to releasing some sap.
Maple syrup can keep a long time, but it can be fun to use some old bottles I find for other maple delights. Less popular than syrup are granulated maple sugar and maple cream (think spreadable maple syrup!). All made with maple syrup as the only ingredient. The process tends to be the same for all items: Boil maple syrup to some high temperature, let it cool a bit, then stir. The difference is the temperature and if you stir casually, or until your arm falls off.
To get in the spirit this year, I decided to make molded maple candy. I've had a few failed attempts where I ended up with maple goo. Still delicious, but hard to eat. The trick is to get to the right temperature at the beginning, and at the end pour into molds before it hardens up. Below is the recipe/procedure if you wanted to try yourself.
Maple Candy Recipe
- 2-4 cups pure maple syrup
- Candy Thermometer
- Silicone molds (or just use cupcake pan and/or cupcake liners)
Boil syrup in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Pro tip: Keep a stick of butter around, and if the syrup starts to boil over, rub butter on the back of the spoon and touch the over-floam (sic) with the spoon and it will immediately subside.
Boil to 240-245 degress (30 degrees above boiling of water).
Remove from heat and let sit around 10 minutes or so to (cool to 180-200 degrees).
Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes until the color turns lighter and the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
Quickly pour into molds. Set aside to cool. Once cool, unmold candy. Try not to eat it all.