Maple sugaring season is done, for me anyway. Really, it ended last weekend. That’s when I noticed that the collected sap was starting to look a bit cloudy and my experience has taught me that that’s when it’s time to fold up shop. As the days stay warmer for longer, it gets harder to keep the sap cool before it can be boiled and that’s when it’ll start turning cloudy. The cloudy stuff isn’t spoiled, but it makes a syrup with more of jelly-like consistency. I have to strain the syrup before bottling to remove the impurities that form during the kettle boiling process and that jelly stuff just clogs up the filter. This all comes down to having the capacity to boil all the sap I collect in a day, which I don’t, so even though the sap is running hard and fast right now I reluctantly have to call it quits.
Earlier this afternoon I disconnected my taps, flushed them with water, then with bleach solution and then lots more water. They’re still strung, but they’re ready to be rolled up and stored till next year. I still want to get some white paint and mark the locations on all the trees where I attached the lines so I don’t have to go through the hassle of measuring them all out again next year. While I’m at it I want to mark this season’s tap holes so I’ll know where not to tap next year, and so I can follow up on how fast the smaller tap holes heal up.
I’m typing this on the Palm while sitting out in the sugar shack. We made an error on the last large batch of syrup we bottled and ended up bottling something that was just slightly less than syrup. I’ve since discarded the thermometer that caused this error and have replaced it with a beautiful new programmable electronic thermometer, complete with probe. Sweeeeet. And so now I’m re-boiling the previously bottled “syrup” until I get the real McCoy. I’m down to my last tank of propane though, and it could kick at any time now…..
…and there it goes. Damn. Three degrees away from syrup. I really didn’t want to have to buy another tank of propane. I’ll post more about how much I was able to make and how much it cost me when I do all the math. And finish boiling this syrup.