I’m getting ready for the latest maple tapping and boiling season.  Last year was the first time I have ever taken on this venture by myself.  I used to assist with a hobby sap house in the past (family and friends) and we’d make 100+ gallons of finished product every year.  I think that ended due to the lack in volunteers to keep that type of production going, and too many cooks in the kitchen so-to-speak, on how it should be done;  Make maple syrup properly that is.

So last year I tapped about 15 trees and made roughly over a gallon of Maple syrup.

So this year is going to be different.  Still going to do it low-tech-ish, as I don’t have a sap house, but I’ve really upgraded my equipment.

First off, I’m going to tap more trees as I’ve built myself a reverse osmosis system

A pump pulls the sap into the 5 micron filter (in blue) and then through the membranes giving me a finished product of ~ 7 or 8% sugar vs the 2% sugar I’ll start with.  Basically cutting what I need to boil down to a third.  Meaning I can boil the same amount of time as before and produce three times the amount of syrup!

This will give me more than enough for myself and enough to give away to my friends and family.  More than a hobbyist needs…  but the inner geek in me is going to love this.

The RO system is slow – 7 gallons an hour probably – so it will run overnight.  Again, it’s a hobby system.  I will collect the sap, run it through the RO, and boil down the prior days collection that was already run through the RO.

Now the lobster pot system is just a little too low tech, so I upgraded that also to a proper boiling pan

The pan on top is the sap warming pan.  It’s large enough to be more than a hobby and small enough that it will fit on top of a two burner propane outdoor stove perfectly.  I honestly have no idea how much it will hold.  I should probably get a gallon jug and find out so I can calculate how much finished RO sap I’m going to need for a proper boil.  Which will let me know roughly how many trees I will need to tap to get that much sap (pre RO).

So to celebrate, I decided to boil down some maple syrup in a pot and boiled it to the “soft ball” stage using a candy thermometer.

From that, I grabbed some snow outside, packed it into a bowl and drizzled it on….

My daughter thought this fun and quite yummy.

With the left over syrup, I stirred until my arm wanted to fall off and made maple cream/butter.

Tapping trees is only a month away!  Still have a lot to do before I get ready to do that.

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