Tuesday, March 29, 2016

T is for Making Maple Syrup

Happy T Day everyone one.
Stop by   Bluebeard and Elizabeth's blog- Altered Book Lover, to see what the T Gang has to show today.
I am going to show you something a little different today. No tea or coffee for me today, but maple syrup instead. Not quite drinking but needed for the breakfast photo I am sharing. 
Hope this divergence is allowed.:)
So I might have shown  you this little green building in a post last summer or so.  This is a sugar shack on my walking route down my road. And when we walked by on Easter morning we had the nice surprise of seeing them actually making maple syrup.
It is sugar season here in New Hampshire, along with Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and other sugaring places, even if it has been a weird winter and not necessarily the best sugaring year.
 These guys have been tapping the sap sugar maple trees in the woods around the shack. In the old days they would use buckets tapped into the tree and then empty the buckets in the boiler, but now they use a bag with a long plastic pipe attached to it. This way the sap drips right down into the pipe and it feeds down into a large sap collector.

Here's 2 photos off of Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_syrup) to show you the new bags, sap collecting pipes and the old fashioned buckets.

Once the sap is collected, they pipe it into this boiler where the sap gets heated to boiling. These guys were doing it the old fashioned way, heating the sap with a wood stove. Then as the sap heats up and boils, the water evaporated and leaves the sweet maple syrup behind.
 I'm  not quite sure how this second pan works, but they told me the more concentrated syrup works its way along  towards the tap.
I'm sure there is a little more science behind it than I briefly explained. And I  did learn a few others things talking to the guys too. I learned that syrup picks up flavors very easily so you should buy it in glass bottles if you don't plan to use it up right away. And you want to use clear sap when you go to make the syrup. The sap runs best when the nights are cold and the days are warm, not hot, and its better when the buds haven't pop (which I noticed on the one sugar maple in my yard that they have popped).
I love the idea that this is a product that is still often made the old fashioned way in these little sugar shacks, and I love the idea that I can buy some syrup made right down my street,
And yes, I live on gravel road. No pavement here in the woods where I live.
Now I want a big plate of blueberry pancakes.
Yum.
Or maybe regular pancakes with an egg tucked inside.
Thanks to all of you who wished me luck with my car inspection.  You must have sent enough good vibes because my car passed. Yahoo!
Have a happy T Day everyone.

15 comments:

Lisca Meijer said...

Now this is a very interesting post. I'm sure you will be forgiven for not strictly speaking having a drink.
I love maple syrup. It is an exhorbitantly expensive little indulgence, and difficult to find here out in the sticks, but I do have a little (glass) bottle in my pantry. I developed a taste for it after visiting Canada many years ago.
So it is interesting to learn how it is harvested and made. I will show this to my husband later on too.
The pancake look delicious too. I have never made american pancakes but when my dieting is over I will have a go. (We have thin, flat pancakes, crepes as they are called in France).
Great that your car past the inspection!
Have a good week,
Happy T-day,
Lisca

laurie said...

yum!

glad the inspection went well!

Linda Kunsman said...

there's nothing better than a car in good working order that's for sure:) Thanks for sharing the wonderful info about the syrup making. I have never seen a sugar shack. Looks like you live in a very peaceful place. Happy T day!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Let's see. Maple syrup has water that evaporates. Therefore maple syrup is drinkable. So, yes, Erika, it is not only acceptable, it is one of those posts I mentioned long before you joined where the more unique the post, the better I like it. And this one is so unique I took a second enjoyable look.

I had no idea you lived this far out in the country. Now it makes more sense when I see you walking. Thankfully, in Kansas (although I can read you a whole list of BAD things Kansas has come up with) you don't have to get a car safety inspection prior to getting your tags. I always dreaded that when I lived in MO. Just the idea I had to PAY someone money at a service station in order to get a car tag infuriated me. I saw it as a way for service stations to make a ton of money off every car owner. And your car isn't any safer, either, in my opinion. Glad your car passed.

Thanks for sharing this unique experience and the very different post with us for T this Tuesday. BTW, I also like pancakes with maple syrup OR with an egg inside, too.

Valerie-Jael said...

Oh my, you have me hankering after pancakes and syrup, help! Very interesting to see the process. Good for your car, glad to hear the news. Just came from the orthopedic specialist who did my OP and he is very pleased with my progress. Happy T Day, hugs, Valerie

Viktoria Berg said...

I absolutely love maple syrup, how interesting to see how it is done! Unfortunately, the kind one can buy in stores here (Europe) all has sulphite in it, and I am allergic to that. :-( Do you know of these small scale makers use sulphite in theirs? Perhaps I could import a few bottles...

Happy T-Day!

Dianne said...

Love your post and photos! so the up and down temps here in Ohio have been good for maple syruping?! guess I can live with that...it is an amazingly labor intense process and glad it is still being done the 'old-fashioned' way. My hubby remembers his grandpa making maple syrup over a wood fired evaporator...good memories for him. thanks for sharing your unique 'beverage' this week! ♥

Divers and Sundry said...

We don't make maple syrup here, but we use it on pancakes and waffles. I'm careful to get real maple syrup; there are all kinds of cheaper fakes out there. Happy T Tuesday!

johanna said...

i loved to hear about this process and see the photos along... very interesting indeed! great surroundings for walks where you live.
and of course the last photo is very mouth watering...
thanks for your visit at my blog and happy t-day!

Ariel said...

I have maple syrup here my kids love it with pancakes. I never knew how they were made. Thank you for sharing this information.
Happy T day

~*~Patty S said...

Oh yummy yum.
Such a treat to get an inside look at such a fascinating process.
The gravel road to your house looks and sounds most inviting Erika.
Happy T Day to ya.
Thank you for the book recommendation and good wishes.
oxo

pearshapedcrafting said...

Oh yum yum! I love Maple syrup on my porridge (or on pancakes) It is better for me than grain sugar! It's great seeing the area where you live! Happy T day! Chrisx

Halle said...

Collecting sap for maple syrup certainly has changed over the years. I see the bags and hoses in the woods at the arboretum while on walks. I haven't ever been around when they've actually been making the syrup though. That would be interesting indeed.

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Wow.. what an interesting process... I remember the maple syrup and lemon juice diet in the 1980 ties...lol...
which I didn't do ..but so many of my friends...
I took more the pancake with syrup variation...lol!
Fab that the car passed the inspection so easily!

oxo Susi

Jeanie said...

I love your sugar shack post, too! Now, I'm REALLY ready for some maple!