Making maple syrup and memories

Simon Evans, Jr. High Staff Reporter

Not having to go to school for six and a half hours on each weekday allowed me to spend more time making maple syrup in the Sugar Shack.  First, our family tapped maple trees, hung the buckets on the taps and we made sure to have a lid so bark from the trees or rain water didn’t mix with the sap .  This year we tapped around forty maple trees. Next our family waited for the sap to run for about a day and after that we collected sap everyday. On a good day the one gallon buckets are overflowing with sap, but normally are about ½ to ¾ full. That might sound like a lot of syrup, but it takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup!  After collecting for a few days comes the hard part. Every Wednesday and Sunday we woke up around 7:00 and went down to the Sugar Shack where we keep our sap. We started to boil down the sap over our fire until the sap starts to develop small bubbles.  While we waited for the bubbles we laughed, shared stories, and had a lot of fun. When the small bubbles appeared, we put the sap in a pot over a propane grill. The temperature of the sap on the propane grill has to get up to approximately 218.3 degrees before you can take it off of the propane grill.  Then, we were very close to getting syrup. Then what we had to do was cool the syrup down to 185 degrees and then filter it. After the filtering process is complete, you heat the syrup back up to 185 degrees and then bottle it. The next day you can have homemade maple syrup on your pancakes, Mmmmmmmmmmm.