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Finishing Off our Maple Syrup

March 12th, 2010

Sugaring season is just about over here in Ohio. We had a warm snap that ended it about a week earlier than last year. Although a short season, it was still successful. We ended up with over a gallon of golden goodness straight from our back yard! Next year we’re hoping to tap even more trees so we can, hopefully, get a few gallons of syrup, then we could give some away (perhaps a jar to a lucky reader). But with only one gallon this year, we’ll probably give some to my parents and we’ll keep the rest.

The hardest part of making maple syrup is the finishing. You have to heat it to a certain temperature; not below or it might spoil, not over or it will crystallize. Everywhere you read you get different information about the temperature or method for finishing your syrup properly. I read this article and used their method, which worked beautifully. I figured the experts at the Ohio State University would know what they were talking about!

After heating to the proper temperature, you’re supposed to strain your maple syrup through a felt filter, some use wool, some use synthetic. Since I’m more of an all-natural kind of person, I bought some organic wool felt from Syrendell at Etsy.com to make my own filter. I figured I could make my own much cheaper. Unfortunately I bought the felt a little too late and it didn’t get here in time, but I’ll have the filters sown up and ready to go for next year.

We ended up filtering ours through a few layers of cheesecloth. We filtered once before finishing the syrup, we poured the hot syrup that was almost finished through cheesecloth to get most of the sugar sand out. Then we finished the syrup and strained again, through some fresh layers of cheesecloth. This did a remarkably wonderful job of straining the syrup. It’s beautifully clear, with hardly any maple sand in it (I’ve read maple sand can make the syrup bitter during storage, which is why it’s recommended to strain it out).

I took some of our finished maple syrup outside yesterday morning to get a few shots, it’s so beautiful! I love these little Weck jars I got to store it in, they should be the perfect size for 2 meals. You can see the two different colors of syrup we got from our two batches. It’s so delicious, hard to believe we made it at home. One thing is for certain, not a drop of this will go to waste! When you take such a hands on approach to making your own food you really appreciate it because you know the effort that goes into it.

What do you recommend for our first meal to enjoy our homemade syrup on:
pancakes, french toast, fried mush, ______________?

41 Comments to “Finishing Off our Maple Syrup”
  1. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on March 12, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Well being from RI I have to suggest Jonny Cakes! I love maple syrup on mine.

    Reply to Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary's comment

  2. Tree on March 12, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I love how in the first picture the maple syrup is so clear you can see the “skyline” inside the jar.

    I love fresh maple syrup, but haven’t had any in years (we use way to much to get the real stuff $17 for a jar like you have in your first picture and in my house that might make it through 1 week of breakfasts).

    Glad you did this, now to search my MIL’s property and find out if she has maples…
    .-= Tree´s last blog ..Calling all Whole Foods and Natural Cooks! =-.

    Reply to Tree's comment

  3. tj on March 12, 2010 at 9:27 am

    …Beautiful stuff! :o)

    …My suggestion would be waffles. They have the perfect lil’ pockets to cradle each delicious drop of your homemade goodness in!

    …Great job you two!

    …Blessings… :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  4. Dave on March 12, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Very neat! I’m a big French Toast fan so that would get my vote!
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Yoshino Cherry Buds are Swelling =-.

    Reply to Dave's comment

  5. Diane on March 12, 2010 at 9:49 am

    French toast. Hands down that has got to be my favorite breakfast food.
    Blessings
    diane
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..School and Medical Update =-.

    Reply to Diane's comment

  6. wiseace on March 12, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Sugaring season is in full swing here. Looks to be a great season.

    Too bad you only made a gallon. I would have asked you to boil it down some more so I could stop by for coffee and maple cream on toast.
    .-= wiseace´s last blog ..Fire Moss & Ice =-.

    Reply to wiseace's comment

  7. rcakewalk on March 12, 2010 at 10:01 am

    These look great, I’ve got to get some Weck jars! I love maple syrup in plain, homemade yogurt – with or without granola…

    Reply to rcakewalk's comment

    • Susy on March 12, 2010 at 10:57 am

      I got lucky in finding these Weck jars at Lehman’s the last time I went. They were on clearance for $10/per dozen, so cheap for Weck, they were originally $30/dozen.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Sense of Home on March 12, 2010 at 10:03 am

    I would have to go with cinnamon french toast with walnuts, mmm. Those jars are beautiful.
    .-= Sense of Home´s last blog ..The Button Box =-.

    Reply to Sense of Home's comment

  9. Rhonda on March 12, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Oh my goodness, I LOVE fried mush! I vote for the mush. :-)

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  10. Christine on March 12, 2010 at 10:09 am

    French toast! Yum yum.

    I love Etsy. It’s a really great way to connect with artists and craftspeople around the world, and a great way to sell your stuff if your local market leaves much to be desired.
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Flowers =-.

    Reply to Christine's comment

  11. warren on March 12, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I always vote for French toast! Your syrup looks great!
    .-= warren´s last blog ..Closet light…a dream come true =-.

    Reply to warren's comment

    • Susy on March 12, 2010 at 10:57 am

      I’m partial to french toast as well for some ready. But fried mush is good too.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. Kelly on March 12, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I’d recommend pancakes – something not too flavourful so as to make the maple flavour really shine through. Then again, I’m a big french toast fan…
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Garden 2.6 =-.

    Reply to Kelly's comment

  13. Michelle on March 12, 2010 at 11:22 am

    It is so beautiful! I wonder why the colors are so different? I was going to vote for French toast, too…but then I saw tj’s idea of waffles and agree 100%…don’t waste a drop!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..I stopped at the thrift store the other day… =-.

    Reply to Michelle's comment

  14. Wendy on March 12, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Pancakes – made with raw milk, fresh ground flour, some raw sugar, Colombian vanilla, and fresh farm eggs… then some BE sausage beside – yum yum! We had that not long ago.

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  15. melissa on March 12, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    pancakes or waffles. Both of which I am now craving. THANKS. :D
    .-= melissa´s last blog ..Oh, delicious leftovers =-.

    Reply to melissa's comment

  16. lee on March 12, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Pancakes, definitely pancakes. The first time I ever tried maple syrup was in my late teens and it was on pancakes. As a matter of fact that was the first time I’ve ever eaten pancakes too. It was so good I’ll never forget it.

    Reply to lee's comment

  17. Jennifer Krieger on March 12, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    They are beautiful jars.
    I like dipping my sausage in good maple syrup.
    Jenny

    Reply to Jennifer Krieger's comment

    • Susy on March 12, 2010 at 1:18 pm

      Oh yes, on sausage is my absolute favorite way to eat maple syrup. I never used to eat it on pancakes, I would just eat it on my sausage. Must get some sausage at the market soon.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  18. deb on March 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Your first meal should also include dessert — vanilla ice cream topped with maple syrup! It’s the best!
    .-= deb´s last blog ..love bites =-.

    Reply to deb's comment

  19. Ken Toney on March 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I vote for your sourdough pancakes recipe. That’s what I’m going to try with my first batch of West Virginia maple syrup. I’m hoping we still have a couple of more days to collect sap. The warmer weather has slowed the sap flow here, too.

    Your syrup looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing the pictures.
    .-= Ken Toney´s last blog ..Making Maple Syrup – Part I =-.

    Reply to Ken Toney's comment

  20. [...] Run here. This week was another busy one for us, we’re finishing up with sugaring (see this post for all the sweet goodness) so that should really help with the challenge next week. I had all these plans of making crackers, [...]

    Reply to Real Food Challenge Friday Wrap-Up – Week Two « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment

  21. Pampered Mom on March 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! Love the pictures of the jars.
    .-= Pampered Mom´s last blog ..Folk Music Fridays – “Talk to Me of Mendocino” =-.

    Reply to Pampered Mom's comment

  22. Amy on March 12, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I love the bare trees mirrored in the first picture of the syrup. How apropos. I vote for french toast. I have a wonderful recipe that you make in a cast iron skillet. It needs to sit over night and I always use the leftover bread I make. Wonderful! I also like syrup on my sausage. In fact that is the only way I can eat it! Lovely post..

    Reply to Amy's comment

  23. Miranda on March 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Wow! Sugaring season went fast! Does it always go by so fast? I feel like it was yesterday when you first tapped your trees. I would love to be able to utilize trees as food (darned squirrels ate all our pecans before they were even ripe).
    I think my favorite thing with maple syrup is french toast, sausage, or oatmeal.
    .-= Miranda´s last blog ..My New Pasta Maker, A Review (*Pasta Giveaway on Monday!*) =-.

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  24. Tom Chilson on March 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    awsome syurp awsome picture too pat your self and the othres that helped great job by the way I would go with french toast a good smoked bacon and some ice cold milk yumm !

    Reply to Tom Chilson's comment

  25. sweetlife on March 12, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    waffles..yes waffles would be ever so lovely!!

    great shots as awlays!!

    sweetlife

    Reply to sweetlife's comment

  26. sweetlife on March 12, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I meant as always..haha
    .-= sweetlife´s last blog ..Hydration, Hydration and Donations =-.

    Reply to sweetlife's comment

    • Susy on March 12, 2010 at 11:27 pm

      No worries, I often correct misspellings when I see them :)

      Reply to Susy's comment

  27. Charlotte A. on March 12, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    i.love.this.blog.

    buttermilk pancakes….with butter on top.

    Reply to Charlotte A.'s comment

    • Susy on March 12, 2010 at 11:26 pm

      Thanks Charlotte! Buttermilk pancakes sound sooooo good. I’m making butter tomorrow so I’ll have fresh buttermilk and fresh butter – HM.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  28. MAYBELLINE on March 12, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Baked beans and grilled ham.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Mystery Plant =-.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  29. michelle on March 13, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Our season in Michigan was short too. Last year we got a warm spell that I thought ended our season, but it got cold again and the sap started flowing a second time.
    Your syrup is beautiful. Do you boil it down in the house?

    Reply to michelle's comment

    • Susy on March 13, 2010 at 10:51 am

      Some of it was boiled in the house, some of it outside. If I use my big waterbath canner on my back burner and turn the oven vent on it keeps the moisture from building up in the house. And it helps heat the house. On days when the sap was flowing well, we boiled outside as well to keep up with it.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  30. nic @ nip it in the bud on March 20, 2010 at 4:38 am

    {drool, drool, mouthwatering just looking!} maple syrup in the UK is such a luxury – £5+ for a small bottle. So I guess it would have to be pancakes as they only happen once a year too! (how is that ‘favourites’ are such a rarity in day to day life – it’s not as if pancakes are expensive or difficult to make ;o)

    Reply to nic @ nip it in the bud's comment

  31. Healthy Carrot Oatmeal Bites | Chiot's Run on December 1, 2010 at 4:47 am

    [...] or molasses in place of the maple syrup if you’d like, although I’ve never tried to. Since we sugar our maples, I have maple syrup around and use that. If you’re looking for any more wonderfully healthy [...]

    Reply to Healthy Carrot Oatmeal Bites | Chiot’s Run's comment

  32. Emily Jenkins on January 20, 2011 at 11:09 am

    So I know it’s been a year since you posted this here but I figured I’d post here instead of on the current post so that it’s relevant.

    What kind of stock pot did you use over the fire outside? Is it enameled? iron? How did it stand up to the long hours of heat? We’re going to be sugaring for the first time this year and wanted to do ours over the fire since we have no propane burner.
    Emily Jenkins´s last post ..Puppy Toes and Winter Woes

    Reply to Emily Jenkins's comment

    • Susy on January 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      I just used an old canning pot of the fire, it is enameled. I know traditional sugaring kettles are cast iron from what I understand, I’m guessing a stainless steel would work as well. The key is to have it as wide as possible for maximum surface area for evaporation.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  33. Amanda on March 14, 2011 at 1:55 am

    We just had our first sugaring adventure here! We’ve been enjoying our syrup on our favorite healthy pancakes. Here’s the recipe: http://onebyonebyone.blogspot.com/2011/01/favorite-breakfast.html I’m enjoying your blog!

    Reply to Amanda's comment

  34. [...] molasses in place of the maple syrup if you’d like, although I’ve never tried to. Since we sugar our maples, I have maple syrup around and use that. If you’re looking for any more wonderfully healthy [...]

    Reply to Real Food Recipe: Healthy Carrot Oatmeal Bites « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment

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