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Maple Syrup...on the second try!

Remember, on my last post (the one that was 10 days ago because I got too busy and neglected my blog?!), we were tapping our maple trees, collecting sap from our old school pails and had high hopes of making our own maple syrup? Well, we did it!! I say "on the second try" because, the first batch was quite light, almost the colour of honey (you can see the difference above), didn't have a maple flavour but instead tasted more like butterscotch! Although, the "butterscotch" version was good, we thought that it was our inexperience shining through...judging by some of the articles that I read and a lot of whiny questions to other "producers", I found out that a lighter, less maple flavoured syrup can be the result of the early sap.

The second batch was quite a bit darker than the first and packed more of a maple punch!

Our first batch was done on a propane turkey fryer...that didn't last very long as the fryer kept shutting down, resulting in a fuming husband muttering about why I would bother to get him tangled up in my hair brained ideas! Our awesome neighbour popped over and gave us some great advice and we were off to the races! Ken and Janet...thank you!

This set up was much better and we could have two pots on the go...

...since the sap continued to run like mad!

Well after dark, James stayed out by the fire watching the pots boil, skimming off foam...

...and keeping the fire stoked for an even heat...I'm pretty sure he was muttering again down there, since I was keeping warm in the house with Isabel...but he will appreciate all of his hard work, come french toast time!!

The syrup was strained through layers of cheesecloth to catch bits of bark and soot from the fire, then ladled into jars...I will have to say that boiling the sap over an open fire not only adds a nice smoky flavour to the syrup, but makes me think of how it used to be in my Grandma's time...cold air nipping your nose, the smell of wood smoke wafting through the air...all of their hard work making them appreciate breakfast time even more!

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