April 7, 2019 – Well that was quick in the span of three weeks the syrup season has come and gone for Bees and Trees. A long cold spell in in January, February and early March pushed the season back a bit compared to last year. Once that let up, the warmth came and was inconsistent.
It started with putting out 13 taps on a very snowy March 11th, and ended April 5th. In all there were only three days of boiling, March 23, 30, and April 5th.
In total I boiled about 60 gallons each of the first two weekends and about 40 the last.
The first boiling was with family and ended with a little more than 2.5 gallons.
The second boil was with friends and included my first brisket on the Traeger. The final total that week was also a little more than 2.5 gallons.
After thinking that was it, I left the taps out one more week to see what I’d get. Once the temps get that warm (a few nights in the upper 30s, low 40s) the sap stops flowing and turns bitter. I thought I could taste the difference between sap that was still good and that which would create bitter syrup, so I tried to separate them as much as possible. Unfortunately I had to add some of the bitter sap at the very end of the good syrup boil due to it being too hot. Fortunately, it still tastes pretty good.
Final week was about 40 gallons of sap and 5 quarts of syrup.
Final year end total was about 6.5 gallons of syrup.In all, I got more syrup in 3 weeks than I did in the 6 weeks I boiled last year. The new evaporator used a lot less wood and boiled the sap in about 3/4 the time.
Next step, making my flavored syrups. Today I used vanilla bean paste to try out some different ratios to see what’s best. In a few weeks, I should have my first Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup ready!