Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sugaring on the farm

We live on the west coast of Canada.  It can be very beautiful here, the winters are obscenely green.  This year is nothing special, with only a light dusting of snow one morning, enough to shut down half the city.  If we didn't have the alpacas in the yard, we would have to mow the law every week.

When I hear about the snow storms in the rest of the country, I have have great envy (I love shovelling the driveway) and I often wonder if this little island is really part of the Nation of Canada.  We don't eat French Fry Soup, we have to drive forever if we want to go skiing, and maple syrup?  Well, what's that?

Alrigh, alright, we know what maple syrup is.  It's that very expensive stuff they ship from back east.  Tastes like liquid heaven.  It comes out of a tree like this:

Well, the other day I saw some Vancouver Island maple syrup for sale.  Vancouver Island maple Syrup?  I laugh a little.  Where you going to get the sap?  From Big Leaf Maples?

Yes, exactly, that's exactly where the sap came from.

The syrup from the Big Leaf Maple is more flavourful than regular (number 1) syrup from Back East.  It tastes like it has melted butter in it, and just a hint of lemon.  It's really amazing.

So, why not make my own?  I have a couple of acres of woodlot, and the local shop sells spiles.  So, into the woods I went.

From 4 trees I'm getting about half a gallon to a gallon of sap a day.  I bring it home and boil it down.

I'm using my maslin pan which is narrow at the bottom and wide at the top, specifically designed for boiling down jam.

An then, by the end of the day...

It's more sugary than regular maple syrup, so I might have boiled it down too much.  Oh well.  It's not going to last long.

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