Saturday, April 5, 2008

Waste Not, Want Not

It’s sugaring off time! Now that the air is warm enough to melt snow and ice, EG sugar maple trees are waking up -- sap is beginning to flow. When days are above freezing (+2 to +8°C) but nights are below freezing (-2 to -8°C), it’s time to collect sugar maple sap for making syrup and/or sugar.

Numerous owners of maple farms and sugar bushes (groves of sugar maple trees) throughout Ontario and Quebec are holding sugaring off festivals this month to demonstrate how maple syrup is made, but it seems at least one EG family is making their own. Yep, this is one of several sugar maple trees on an EG front lawn, each equipped with two spiles (spouts) and two buckets.
It may take all day to collect half a bucket, which sounds like a lot, but to make a litre of syrup you have to boil down 30 to 40 litres of sap. (To make sugar, it needs to cook even longer!) Since boiling sap into syrup is a steamy process, it's a good idea to cook it outdoors on a barbecue. (At sugaring off festivals, sap is often boiled down over an open fire.)

The season for collecting sap ends when the leaves come out, usually in late April. But maple syrup eating (yum) happens all year! Properly cared for maple syrup will keep 12 months in a fridge and two years in a freezer.

Anyone hungry for waffles?


Small City Scenes said...

I know nothing about sugar maples, just what I have read and it sounds fascinating and maybe even fun. A job for farmers I'm sure.
So tell us more. MB

Rune Eide said...

Do you deliver??

Tom said...

This is a great post.. I can taste it now.. Jane and I have this Maple Syrup on our Pancakes.. ummmm! Pancakes.. LOL.

dot said...

On another blog they were talking about pouring some on snow and eating it. I sure would like to try that!
Enjoyed your post!

Rose said...

Great post...I had posted some pictures of sugar maples being tapped but really didn't know how much sap is involved in the making.

Then after I posted the pictures, one of my brothers said one time he had tapped some till he collected about 5 gallon and boiled it down to either a pint or a quart...can't remember which right now. And set it in the fridge to cool with no lid and one of my sisters got in there and turned spilt it!

Anyway, glad to read this and it would be interesting to see more photos of the process itself.

Kris McCracken said...

I'd love to see a pic of it boiling away! How very cool that you can do it in your own backyard. It doesn't damage/hurt the trees, I would imagine?

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East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.