Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to Boil Sap to Make Maple Syrup

 by Joanna and Libby

            The tools for boiling sap have changed a lot in the past half a century.  Some of the earliest tools used for boiling sap were a fire and a hollowed out log, but now we use highly efficient machines that are called evaporators. 
            The main differences between the modern ways of boiling sap and the ways they have done it in the past are that it is more efficient; it is safer; it makes a higher quality product; and the amount it costs to produce the syrup have decreased.  Another big difference is the fact that now we can continuously boil sap. Instead of boiling some and then having to stop, we can just keep adding more and more sap until all the water boils off and makes syrup. An invention that has helped to speed up the process of boiling sap is the fluted pan. This pan allows heat to get closer to the syrup and helps it to boil faster.

Steps to Boiling Maple Sap:

            First you collect the sap from the trees and filter it using a paper filter. You are filtering out sludgy minerals that have gotten into your sap.
            Then you pour sap into your evaporator. Maple sap is 2% sugar and 98% water. So really what you are doing when your boiling sap is boiling off all the water. So you wait for the water to boil, which is at 212 degrees.
            Once most of the water has boiled off, you keep adding the rest of your sap until all of it is added and all the water has boiled off. Then you are just left with all of the sugar. The sap darkens as all the water boils off.
            Then you wait for the sap to boil into syrup, which is at 218 degrees.  When the sap starts to boil it looks like water, and as you get closer to the point where the sap is syrup, the bubbles get smaller. If you aren’t careful the sap can boil over and spill out of your pan or burn your syrup. Then you use a syrup hydrometer to test the density of your syrup and when it floats to the red line you are done.
            The last thing you do is take the syrup off the fire and filter it again.  After that you are ready to bottle and sell your syrup. 

Please Note: Photos are from 2013, we have not boiled any sap yet this year.

After collecting the sap you pour it into your evaporator

Then you wait for the water to boil off.  
Once most of the water has boiled off you add more sap until you are just left with syrup. 

Then you wait for the syrup to boil. 
Then you use a hydrometer to test the density of the syrup. When the Hydrometer floats you are done. 
Andy using the Hydrometer. 

Using the hydrometer in the syrup. 

The last step is to filter the syrup after it has come out of your evaporator. 

Finished Maple Syrup

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