Saturday, April 21, 2007

Maple Syrupin' 2007

It’s a bloggin’ field trip! Far away from our very own Southern California is a place that people might make maple syrup. Mrs. Butterworth and Vermont be damned, this post will be about the upper Midwest maple syrupers. Specifically, my Dad’s small time maple syrup shack which is all new this year! It’s just a fun time spring hobby with most of the product going to friends and family.

Gone are the old large open pans that cooked maple sap over a closed fire box and gone are the old buckets that collected the sap. Enter a new era! Collection bags! A modern evaporator! The process is easier as the cooking sap runs thru a series of separate pans as it cooks down, eventually measured and then a faucet is opened to pull off a couple of quarts of finished syrup. This is way different than the old method in which 10 gallons (or more) would have to be taken off the fire at once and quickly filtered. The new setup includes a filter press – days later the syrup is filtered and bottled.

But it’s all best shown with pictures. No need for me to blather on.

It all starts with the sap collection.
A time machine?
Wood fired.
Cooking away!
Dad reports that he produced 50 gallons of syrup this year. This is off of 300 taps (multiple taps per tree are typical) with about 33 gallons of sap needed to cook down to a gallon of syrup. In Syrupin' 101 you'll learn that you need nighttime temperatures to hit 25 degrees and daytime temperatures around 45. This gets the sap moving and dripping out of the spouts. Cooking it is just a relaxing time filled with card playing and general shooting of the shit.


Blogger KirkK said...

Hey Scott - It looks like your Dad did a great job rebuilding the Syrup "Shack"!

April 23, 2007 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

Where is this "upper midwest" you speak of?? We just called it "Up North"...looks like where I would go mushroom picking when I lived in Detroit.

April 24, 2007 5:41 PM  
Blogger FireFlyFiftyFive said...

Hi Kirk - the new shack wasn't built on the spot of the old cabin, but instead much closer to electricity and running water.

Cathy - it's "next door" in good ol' Wisconsin.

April 24, 2007 11:16 PM  

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