Twenty-four hour sap boiling sessions, broken hydrometers, scorched pans, burned hands, spilled sap and endless mistakes are the reminders of our early experiences with making maple syrup. I call those early production years rough and rustic but I persevered and bucket-by-bucket I developed a back yard hobby with my mate into a fulltime loving endeavor that keeps thriving and expanding.
We first began with makeshift tarps, recycled barrels, and secondhand buckets that came with an old used instruction book. Today we use computers and a brand new stainless steel evaporator. People think it's a hoot when they see my excitement over this piece of equipment. My heart pounds, my cheeks flush, and I begin to get this huge grin on my face whenever we fire it up. I know it is love.
It takes a certain kind of hardiness to be a producer because it is a laborious undertaking with ceaseless hours and sometimes-merciless cold conditions. We had to ready the trees one year in single digit temperatures and tromp through three feet of snow. But is it worth it? The answer is yes because the process creeps into your soul and becomes a part of your life. Nothing compares to the rich delicious aroma of sap boiling down to thick syrup in the evaporator. But not only does maple syrup smell luscious, it tastes heavenly.
It is a natural sweetener that breaks down in your digestive system easily. It has different grades and flavors from the mild light amber to the robust maple dark amber, enabling me to use it in most of my cooking and enjoy it on top of waffles. It is so much better than white sugar and the lighter syrup sweetens without flavoring. It is also full of beneficial minerals.
So stay with me this month and tour my sugarhouse and sugarbushes. I will share with you my experiences, both joyful and trying. I will share with you thrilling stories surrounding maple syrup production. I will share with you how to make maple syrup, And, most importantly I will share with you my recipes, all tried and true.