The beginning of the honeybee season brought the end of the maple syrup season. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures or videos of the last few weeks of sap season, but I’ll share a bit of how it went.
From my last report about March 11 through April 14th, I boiled sap once a weekend for an average of 9 hours per time. The amount of sap per week increased to as much as 50 gallons per week, but with my additional pans and new learning, I was still able to get it all done in a day. I was even outside during the blizzard on April 14th (one of my worst ideas).
Final totals are approximate, as I gave and ate some syrup before this picture was taken, but that’s 54 cups of syrup pictured and I think about 5 gallons total for the season.
I had read that the trees tell when the season is over by producing sap that tastes different, tastes bitter. Sure enough, after spending 8 hours boiling I ended the season with 8 cups of, in my opinion, bitter tasting syrup. My family tried it and insist it tastes like all the rest, but perhaps my syrup palate became picky over the course of the winter.
Anyways, where’s the fun in syrup if you can’t try new things with it, right? I’ve spent the last few months trying new flavors of syrup, infusing the syrup that we made with strawberries, blueberries, and vanilla beans to make different varieties.
Each is naturally made and tastes delicious on breakfast foods, ice cream, yogurt, and as a natural sweetener in smoothies.
Here is the final product of my first batch; strawberry, true maple, and wild berry. My first sale was to a kind science teacher who wanted to give it a try. If you’re interested in trying a sample, let me know! I also have syrup in a 4, 8, and 16 oz sizes in all three flavors. Vanilla bean will be more readily available next year, but is probably my favorite for waffles.
Did you know? Maple sap can be made into a variety of foods based on the temperature (or sugar content) it is cooked to. While syrup is 219.2 degrees, maple butter is 232.7 degrees, maple taffy is 235.4, soft maple sugar is 238.1 and hard maple sugar is 244.4 degrees.