We worked until 10 pm last night getting the sap boiled down to the point we could bottle it. I should say Mary worked until 10 as I fell asleep on the couch.
Working outside is great. Our system is very basic and homemade. The fire-pit is made of cement blocks filled with stone, old wire stove racks, turkey roaster and an expensive boil-off pot with a tap.
Collected sap is stored in clean garbage cans beside the fire-pit until needed. Yes, that is sap from our maple trees Mary is pouring into the garbage can. It looks like water because that's what it mostly is. We need to boil off 117 litres of water to get 3 litres of maple syrup. That's about two of those blue garbage cans of water we need to get rid of; it takes a while.
We move the sap from pan to pan as it get hotter and boils down. The big square pan in the foreground is the last pan where most boiling-off takes place.
A good steady flame is essential and we need to keep it going for 10-12 hours. Naturally we have lots of firewood stacked within reach of the fire-pit.
The final boil down is done over a propane burner so we can precisely control the temperature and prevent any scorching of the syrup.
After a day of boiling sap we ended up with a little over two litres of maple syrup. (Remember this started out as two blue garbage cans of sap) Not much for all the time and effort but it is sweet, delicious and homemade. It will be a treasured compliment to our pancake breakfast this morning.
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all our Irish readers.