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Sweet Success

March 17th, 2009

Our maple sugaring experiment was a success. We’re kind of sad we didn’t get started until the end of the season, but we learned a lot and we’ll definitely be doing it next year.
We collected around 11 gallons of sap. Half of it was boiled over a fire and half of in on a propane burner outside. We wanted to see if the kettle syrup (which is what they call it when you do it in a kettle over the fire) tasted different.
Since it takes about 40-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, that’s a lot of moisture to boil off. We spent all day boiling it down, but it was a nice day sitting by the fire.
Lucy was very excited because she got to sit outside with us all day while we were reducing the sap.
We ended up with a little over a quart of maple syrup. The darker syrup on the left is syrup reduced over the fire, it does have a slight smoky flavor and the lighter amber on the right is the propane reduced syrup. They’re both fantastic and we’re really looking forward to a pancake or french toast breakfast pretty soon to enjoy them!
We’re now excited for sugaring season next year. It will be interesting to see how much we get when we do it the entire season. We’re hoping to buy some vintage taps and sugaring buckets to use in our sugaring efforts next year.

What kind of maple syrup do you use? Have you ever made your own? (take the poll)

28 Comments to “Sweet Success”
  1. Mangochild on March 17, 2009 at 4:54 am

    I’ve been waiting for this post, and it was well worth the wait! I am so impressed that you tap your own trees – after seeing all the work that goes into it during my “field trip” this weekend, I have a new appreciation for every drop of syrup I taste. I love maple syrup in all its forms, but especially the dark amber and the grade B. Usually I get it from Blue Heron Farm, but I found a new (even closer) farm and have gotten several bottles.

    Mangochild’s last blog post.. Spotlight: Dark Days Challenge Week 17

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    • Susy on March 17, 2009 at 8:58 am

      Mr Chiots kept saying the same thing. We’re definitely going to enjoy it more since we spent so much time making it. When you take part in the making of your own food it does make you enjoy it all the more. It also makes you not want to waste a single bit of it, whether it be maple syrup, honey, or spinach.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. catalangardener on March 17, 2009 at 5:57 am

    Great post – really interesting as the whole thing is completely alien to us! I bet it tastes better for all the time spent making it!

    catalangardener’s last blog post.. I’m Having Blogging Internet Connection Issues

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  3. Julia on March 17, 2009 at 7:52 am

    Congratulations! That looks fantastic! Those are going to be some mighty fine pancakes, I’ll bet.

    Julia’s last blog post.. Happy Birthday, Liz!

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  4. Mike on March 17, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Wow, thats really neat…How many trees did you have to tap? We have a few maples but have never tried making syrup.


    Mike’s last blog post.. Health By Allium

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    • Susy on March 17, 2009 at 9:37 am

      We tapped 12 of our maples. I’ve heard that each maple will produce 6-10 gallons of sap during the sugaring season. I think if we had started at the beginning of the season we could have gotten about 2 gallons of syrup, but since we only collected sap for 2 days at the end of the season we didn’t get as much.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Kelly Butler on March 17, 2009 at 9:56 am

    That is so amazing Susy! I am facinated by it…..pancakes with your OWN syrup will be amazing!!! Enjoy!

    Kelly Butler’s last blog post..

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  6. Kenny on March 17, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Never tried tapping maple trees but it sounds interesting and worth the effort. That’s impressive that you got that much maple syrup from only two days. If you tapped the entire season would you have to boil it down frequently or can you store that much sap and how long would it keep?

    Kenny’s last blog post.. Re-Energized and Back to the Garden

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    • Susy on March 17, 2009 at 10:20 am

      We were actually debating how we would handle the sap. You can store it for up to 7 days, but you have to keep it cool or it will spoil. I think we’d probably start a fire and check on it every hour or so (we both work from home). You can get big storage containers though and save it all week and boil it down on the weekends.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Dan on March 17, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I like amber maple syrup the best, the darker the better. I have heard the colour darkens as the season progress with the light being the first to flow and the darker coming at the end of the season.

    I bet the smokey maple syrup would be a great addition to homemade bbq sauce for pork or chicken.

    Dan’s last blog post.. Seedling Update

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    • Susy on March 17, 2009 at 10:32 am

      I’m going to use some of the smoky syrup to brush on bacon when we cook it. Mapled bacon is great, and I’m guessing smoky maple bacon will be even better!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. lee on March 17, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Great post! I bet both are delicious, they look so yummy. I would love to try tapping and sugaring but unfortunately there are no maple trees around here.

    Reply to lee's comment

  9. The Garden Farmer on March 17, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Dang! I wish I had a Maple tree in my back garden that I could use. Your maple sysrup looks fantastic! Great post :-)

    The Garden Farmer’s last blog post.. Bhut Jolokia

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  10. sugarcreekstuff on March 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    This was our first year making syrup. Like you, it was/is fun and well worth it. I am boiling some right now! I have to use propane since we ran out of wood. Maybe next year.
    Your pics are beautiful.

    sugarcreekstuff’s last blog post.. A tale of two syrups.

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    • Susy on March 17, 2009 at 9:24 pm

      Thanks for the compliment.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Robin @ Seasons Eatings on March 17, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    We tap once in a while. This year we’re going to a friend’s sugar shack and will buy from him. He has over 700 trees this year. This Sunday is Maine Maple Sunday, an annual spring “holiday” here!

    Robin @ Seasons Eatings’s last blog post.. Dispelling the Myth – Do Turkeys REALLY Drown in the Rain?

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    • Susy on March 17, 2009 at 9:25 pm

      WOW, 700 trees that a lot.

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  12. Frugal Trenches on March 17, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    WOW! What a wonderful post to come back to. I’ve missed your blog!

    Frugal Trenches’s last blog post.. The announcement and the shop!

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  13. edh on March 17, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Beautiful syrup! We tapped our 8 trees a week ago Sunday, but the sap has only flowed about half that time due to freezes. With only 8 trees going, we just keep a couple of kettles on the wood stove, slowly cooking down all the time, then take it outside to finish off on a propane burner right at the end.
    Without a good hard boil to get the temperature up there, it always comes out tasting like butterscotch, not maple-y at all. We tried finishing on the kitchen stove the first year; thought the ceiling tiles would fall down!

    Reply to edh's comment

    • Susy on March 17, 2009 at 9:26 pm

      I’m sure we’ll learn more next year. We only read a few website and don’t know much, but we should know more next year.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. Pampered Mom on March 17, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    I’m so glad you had a successful go of it – even if you got a late start.

    Pampered Mom’s last blog post.. Getting Outside

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  15. Dee/reddirtramblings on March 18, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Ah, now I know what maple sugaring is. You were making maple syrup. I bet it tastes better than what we can buy in the stores. Thanks for showing the process. Sweet success indeed!~~Dee

    Dee/reddirtramblings’s last blog post.. Dear Friends and Gardeners, Week Two

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  16. Krista on March 28, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    you..are one ..of the most intersting people I know! you two are really ..amazing!

    Krista’s last blog post.. Homemade Girl Scout Cookies , Samoas

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  17. Penny Metzger on April 19, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    This may be a stupid question, but, do you have to have a certain kind of maple tree or will any ole maple work?

    Reply to Penny Metzger's comment

  18. Penny Metzger on April 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Oh, hey, I forgot to mention that we are trying a sq ft garden this year. I am very nervous as this is really the first veggie gardening I have ever done. We are in Cincinnati so are in in the same region somewhat. We would like the garden to be as organic as possible but realize that the pests, etc may decide for us. I’m hopeless at all the planning (you’re charts are amazing!). This year will teach us a lot. Hopefully we will have a few veggies to eat.

    Reply to Penny Metzger's comment

    • Susy on April 19, 2009 at 7:35 pm

      Any old maple will do, it just takes more sap than it does from the sugar maples. Happy Sugaring!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  19. Overnight Sourdough Pancake Recipe | Chiot's Run on January 28, 2010 at 4:47 am

    […] During the long cold winter months here in NE Ohio, it’s futile to think about gardening all the time! There are still many long months of cold and snow left (they’re predicting a few inches overnight). To keep myself from going crazy, I spend my winter months learning to do new things. I finally mastered sourdough bread, so now I’m learning to use sourdough in places besides bread, like muffins and pancakes. One reason I like sourdough is because the grains are soaked overnight, this is supposed to make them easier to digest and much more nutritious. On Tuesday morning I finally made my first batch of sourdough pancakes and they were a HUGE hit. I used the basic recipe from Mother Earth News and amended it to suit my tastes. I used my sourdough starter and some freshly ground whole wheat flour, along with some buttermilk leftover from my butter making, eggs from the local farm. We topped them with some homemade butter and some local maple syrup (soon enough we’ll have our own maple syrup). […]

    Reply to Overnight Sourdough Pancake Recipe | Chiot’s Run's comment

  20. […] aside, this news will not prevent me from finding, enjoying, even learning how to DIY this New England seasonal delicacy (which, together with the Concord Grape, keeps me from moving to […]

    Reply to Forget Chocolate, We Love Maple Sugar (and crème brulée!) on Ecocentric Blog | Food, Water and Energy Issues's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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