Last weekend we boiled down 9 gallons of sap. We used a propane turkey cooker and I cooked 2 batches, 4 gallons on Saturday and 5 on Sunday. It took all day, like 10-12 hrs each day. Most expensive syrup we've ever eaten. Had I planned ahead I would have gathered wood and cooked it that way but I did not. I also should have added to the syrup as it boiled down. The way I go about it this weekend will be based on the mistakes I've made. I will also use a shallow pan rather than the deep lobster pot as seen above. As of tonight we have 17 gallons to boil down. When the sap was boiled down I was unable to tell when it was ready. One web site said "it will have an oily appearance", and another said when it "reaches 219 degrees". I could use some HELP here from those of you that have experience with this!
Neither method worked perfectly for me. So I went by the guess factor and consistency, probably not the best method.
Batch # 1 after cooled had the consistency of honey. You could eat it by the spoonful and I DID! It is from nature, it must be good for you, right? :)
Batch # 2 turned out a bit on the watery side. Regardless of consistency it is the best maple syrup I've had since I was a child. As it cooked up the sweet aroma brought me back to my childhood at the sugar house in Canada. Interestingly, that is the ONLY memory I have of going there as a child.
On a final note, I will clarify that I did drink raw milk as a child. My brother reminded me after he read my post. My brother milked for some time as a teenager. He use to fill an old glass vinegar bottle after his workday was done. So I indeed did drink raw milk when I was at my Dad's on the weekends. Funny how I completely forgot about that. I think at the time I did not really know the difference. Last weekend we stopped and bought a gallon of raw organic milk from a farm in my brother's hometown and I made my first batch of mozzarella cheese and it was SO easy and tasty. The whole family liked it! I bet you can't guess what I'll be posting about in the next week or so. Things have been crazy busy here with Springs arrival. I will catch up on everyone's recent posts over the weekend.