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A Little Something Sweet

February 14th, 2011

Just in time for Valetine’s Day, the weather turned into perfect sugaring weather. Yesterday, the temps rose above freezing, so we tapped all of our maple trees. Just as we suspected, the sap started flowing.

Last year the season only lasted five days and we ended up with a little more than a gallon of syrup. This year we’re hoping that it lasts much longer so we can get several gallons of syrup to use throughout the year.

We’ll be spending our Valentine’s evening emptying sap buckets and starting to boil it down into sweet delicious maple syrup. Not the typical romantic fare, but right up our alley.

Do you do anything special for Valentine’s day?

18 Comments to “A Little Something Sweet”
  1. Marianne on February 14, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Here in the UK Valentine’s day is the traditional day to start sweet peas. So I’ve just put some in.

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  2. kristin @ going country on February 14, 2011 at 8:45 am

    We’re tapping trees this year, too, for the first time. At least, the first time for me. I have no idea how to do this, but we have the book and the equipment, so I guess I’ll learn as I go . . .

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  3. Beegirl on February 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

    We are going to tap this year too. Haven’t done it since I as a kid. Dad has rigged up some kind of maple sugar stove/burner out of an old wash tub and I am anxious to see how it is all going to work!! Good luck and wishing you lots of syrup!!

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  4. Emily Jenkins on February 14, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Happy Valentine’s Day! We’ll be tapping today too. Unfortunately I just read that there are two consecutive nights in the forecast ahead of us with lows of above 40º so hopefully the tapping season will last more than three days! I intend to beg each maple tree that I tap to keep their buds tightly closed for just a few more days, so that I can get at least enough sap for our own use.
    Have you tried using the plain sap for food-stuff, rather than boiling it all down for syrup? I know some people use it to make their tea, and other use it in baking instead of water. It adds an earthy sweetness that you supposedly can’t get otherwise.
    Of course since syrup is simply dehydrated sap it seems like you should be able to get a similar effect by adding a good ol’ dollop of syrup to whatever you’re making, but there are some that beg to differ.

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    • Susy on February 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

      I haven’t tried using it for anything other than syrup. Since we never get as much syrup as we want I’m reluctant to use the sap that can be boild down into golden goodness. Syrup in coffee – YUM

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Emily Jenkins on February 17, 2011 at 1:28 am

        I wanted to ask you, what do you use for storage for your sap? We’ve been using our old plastic water jugs, but with the volume we’re getting from 12 taps we’re quickly running out of space. I know some people just pour sap right into large plastic storage bins, and supposedly the sterilite plastic bins are foodsafeish since they’re #5 plastics. I know, what plastic is really safe? Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful insights and experiences, especially the email you sent on fluoride. I’ve been reading up on it like crazy :)

        to Emily Jenkins's comment

      • Susy on February 17, 2011 at 7:39 am

        We store our sap in canning pots, stock pots, gallon & half gallon glass jars and anything we can find. A lot of people are comfortable using plastic to store it in – personally I don’t let plastic touch my food if I can avoid it, so we won’t even use it for the sap (that’s why we use the glass jars for collecting the sap on the trees). We have 10 one gallon glass jars that we use for storing the sap in as well, and we have a ton of half gallon glass jars as well since we’re not getting fresh milk at this time of the year. You could always save milk jugs and use those for storage.

        We start boiling down when we reach 15 gallons, and then usually add the next days sap for a total of 25 gallons, then we finish it off and start all over again with the fresh so we don’t get too backed up. Right now have a pot boiling on the stove, it was on all night long (with the fan on full of course).

        to Susy's comment

      • Emily Jenkins on February 17, 2011 at 8:57 am

        Thanks for the tips, Susy! We’ve only recently started to phase plastic out of our lives, and since this is our first season tapping the trees we really don’t have the storage space in non-plastic, which would obviously be preferred. We do have a lot of glass milk jugs that we haven’t returned to the dairy yet, though, so thanks for mentioning those! At least some of our sap will be stored in glass. Of course all of the syrup (all 3 cups or whatever we get) will be stored in glass. :)

        to Emily Jenkins's comment

  5. Kelly on February 14, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Every year I make my hubby a bento (boxed lunch) and handmade chocolates. This year I’m trying to make every meal/moment of the day a little extra special for him and us. So far it’s going well and he’s feeling my love.

    We split up V-day along the lines of the Japanese tradition of Valentine’s Day/White Day. V-day is for the female to give (chocolates, usually, handmade being extra special) and White day (March 14) is for him to reciprocate. It gives us the chance to focus entirely on the other person without thought to ourselves (which sounds easy/natural but there’s something different – think birthday vs Christmas).

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  6. Jennifer on February 14, 2011 at 10:11 am

    ooooh maple syrup! I can’t wait till we can move back east and have some trees of our own to tap. Enjoy every moment!

    Reply to Jennifer's comment

  7. goatpod2 on February 14, 2011 at 10:18 am

    We don’t do anything special for Valentine’s Day! Wasn’t the weather lovely yesterday?


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  8. Morgan G on February 14, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I made my husband White Chocolate & Cardamom and Cinnamon & Cocoa covered Dark Chocolate truffles yesterday. I’m also letting him take me out to dinner tonight. Lucky fella. :)

    Reply to Morgan G's comment

  9. Dana @ Potted Farm on February 14, 2011 at 11:43 am

    My mouth is watering just thinking about real honest to goodness maple syrup. Hope you get many gallons.

    Reply to Dana @ Potted Farm's comment

  10. annie on February 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    We don’t observe Valentines Day, but I am so jealous of your maple trees! How cool. We don’t have any sappy maple species which grow this far south so any maple syrup we want we have to purchase.

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  11. Cheryl on February 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Call me an old married gal, but tapping trees for Valentines day sounds great. :o)
    We have been working on the remodel instead of goofing off. But, we love being together. :o)

    Reply to Cheryl's comment

  12. Holley on February 14, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    That is so interesting! I have never seen this done, though I’ve heard of it. Guess I just don’t live in the right place. Hope you have a sweet Valentine’s day.

    Reply to Holley's comment

  13. Helen at Toronto Gardens on February 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    We do love maple syrup, though we don’t grow our own. For the past few years we’ve been blessed with a big jug from an érablière from one of my husband’s extended family in Québec. We like the medium or dark better than the light — they have more of that maple flavour. Enjoy yours!

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  14. Angela on February 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    This is just so cool! I’ve never seen this done before, and the comments from others that tap their own syrup have really made me curious about the process. What a sweet way to spend Valentine’s Day! I hope you get lots of gallons of syrup! So yummy.

    We didn’t do much–my husband cooked me dinner and I baked him my first chocolate cake ever from scratch. It tasted fine but I need to work on making it look pretty next time.

    Reply to Angela's comment

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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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