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  • Writer's pictureWine & Whiskey

Ragtag Maple Syrup



Backyard / in-home maple sugaring has been a learning experience. From February 1-16 we collected approximately 93 gallons of sap (1488 cups) and made approximately 24 cups of syrup. We didn't cook all of the sap, more on that further into the post.


We started off collecting sap into a 5-gallon food-grade bucket from a local restaurant. Then we quickly learned that wasn't going to be enough and had to purchase buckets with lids.


And we learned we had to filter, filter, and filter. Bought filters.


Then we realized additional flat roasting pans would work well. Bought roasting pans.


Then we needed more firewood. Wood was harvested out back and then stacked and or split.


What else? Oh yeah, a sugar shack...not happening...at least not this year. 😂


Overall, it has been fun, and the syrup is delicious. I'll tally the overall cost of supplies in relation to the final syrup tally once the season is over.


 

Before we started boiling sap, we did a two-night stay on Long Island. Whiskey had a work assignment in Riverhead. We got up super early and caught the 11am ferry from New London CT. This allowed us to relax a bit once on the island. Well, at least until our coach batteries died. Watch the video to see how that turned out.




We really like eastern Long Island. It has a rural country vibe to it with an upscale flair sprinkled in. All of the people we interacted with were friendly. The Wal-Mart employee that helped Whiskey out in the automotive department was the winner! Thank you, sir!


 

Ok, so now onto the maple syrup chronicles. For starters we acknowledge that we didn't know what we were getting into. But sometimes you just have to jump in and experience something as it unfolds. We learned, evaluated, evolved, and actually produced maple syrup. It is really pretty neat.


We start off simmering on the wood cookstove. This is actually the easiest method. It simmers slow and doesn't create an overwhelming steam. Once the sap is reduced down, we keep adding sap and continue simmer until only a couple inches remains. If the pots still have a lot of sap at the end of the evening, we put the lid on the pots and let the stove die down. The following morning the stove gets cranked up and the simmering continues.


I can hear the comments: "Your wallpaper will peel off with all the steam." "Your walls will be covered in sticky goo.", etc. I cook A LOT creating steam and flying grease; a little bit of sugar in the mix is not a concern. Our drafty old house is SO DRY in the winter we could use steam.


These photos in the gallery below are not in chorological order. If you watch the video, you can see the process we have gone through with a couple of bloopers included.





Mr. Coffee is always thinking, and he thought that peanut butter and maple syrup would be good on bread.... hmmm, he was right! On days that Mr. Coffee is working at the homestead we start the day with coffee and sourdough toast, or oatmeal. He likes peanut butter instead of butter on his toast and this led to using the syrup on top of the peanut butter. Syrup is also perfectly paired with oatmeal. And of course, pancakes which I make on the weekends.


Other ways we have used the syrup: drizzle on top of pork chops in the final sauté stage in the cast iron skillet, put it in coffee, add to tomato sauce and oatmeal to name a few.


With the initial abundance of sap, we looked into uses for that instead of boiling it. Great ways to use the sap is simply drinking it. Fresh out of the tree it is cold and refreshing and slightly sweet. We used the sap to make coffee by using sap instead of water in the coffee maker. Well, that was tasty! I used sap instead of water to make rice; that paired nicely with the pork chops with maple syrup drizzle.


Maple syrup production is on hiatus at the moment as it got super cold again and the sap doesn't run unless the temperature gets above freezing. So, we won't be collecting sap until the end of this week. At that time, we will get the whole process going again.


I hope you enjoyed Ragtag Maple Syrup Chronicles. As always, we thank you for reading and responding via comments, texts, or emails. We really appreciate it.


P.S. / Side note. A local retired couple stumbled upon our YouTube channel and then our blog. We emailed back and forth and then we met up with them for happy hour. Wow, we have new friends. We would never have crossed paths otherwise. I think that is pretty cool. Another "New for '24" is new friends.


P.P.S Give peanut butter and maple syrup a try. YUM!




Resources & Locations


Harvest Host Locations:


Wineries and Restaurants


Ferry


Maple Syrup Supplies





RV Coach Batteries


Maple Syrup and Sap Information






Pancake Recipes

Pancake Batter - Nourishing Traditions - I don't mill flour. I use organic all-purpose flour and add vanilla. I also add a touch of sourdough starter.


Good Old-Fashioned Pancakes Recipe (with Video) (allrecipes.com) No overnight preparations needed; add vanilla too!








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2 Comments


curranttc
curranttc
Feb 20

Love following you two and your fun blog!

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Wine & Whiskey
Wine & Whiskey
Feb 20
Replying to

Thank you so much!!

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