Maple syrup making!

Hey everybody!  I actually slept in until 7:30 today.  Confession that we went out to Friendly’s for ice cream last night.  It was really good, and I guess that carb load helped me at the gym this morning.  I got on the treadmill and did 4 miles that were really easy!  Love it when that happens.  Came home and had some yummy custard oats topped with Naturally Nutty and jam.

So good.  I love how oats feel in my tummy after a work out. 😀

Then we took my mother out to a maple syrup farm!  We are lucky to live in maple syrup country.  It takes a while to get to the farms, as there are no direct routes, though.  Nice drive, though.  We stopped at the Dry Brook Sugar House:

This is a working farm with dairy animals, too:

They just have their heads through these bars to eat the hay outside below this photo- so don’t worry about them, they can put their heads in and out on their own.

First stop in the sugar house was a pancake lunch:

Yum!  Topped with syrup that was warm from the evaporator:

So good!!!  Then we took a horse wagon out for a short ride:

We just went a little bit into the sugar bush.  Interesting thing is that it crossed over into Vermont!

These are the tap lines on the trees:

Each little blue feeder line goes into the big blue one, which runs into a large collector.  It’s mostly gravity fed, but that black tube is a vacuum to help it along if needed.  The collecting season is very short, about 6 weeks – and that will give you the entire year’s production!  The perfect weather is days above freezing and nights below freezing.  Once the trees bud out, then the sap becomes too bitter to use.

The sap is then boiled down in the evaporator:

Did you know that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of syrup?  This stuff is like gold!

All that water boiling away makes a lot of steam:

Lucky us, we also saw them making maple cream, which is a soft spread maple syrup (and to die for):

This is the same process as making the maple sugar candies, but the temperature is lower.  They weren’t making candies, but here are the little leaf molds:

Very cool process and amazing to me that a whole year’s supply is dependent upon the weather!

Next week I will be doing a giveaway of some dark amber syrup we bought here to some lucky reader!  Make sure you check back 😀

Question: Have you ever had real maple syrup?

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24 thoughts on “Maple syrup making!

  1. debby

    Oh boy, I hope I win the syrup! I just now used up the last of the real maple syrup that I brought back with me from Vermont 2 years ago! Which, by the way, I gained 10 real pounds in one week eating bfast and dinner at a gourmet inn where I was staying. I didn’t even eat the lunch–ate fruit and luna bars that I had brought, and also ran and walked quite a bit. But still….that was some good food!

    Don’t you wonder who the first person was who thought of taking sap out of trees and boiling and boiling and boiling to make a little syrup? Man’s inventiveness is amazing to me.
    .-= debby´s last blog ..I Hate it When that Happens =-.

  2. Andra

    What an amazing time you had! I hail from New England so I was brought up on the real stuff. I always have a supply of Grade B (my favorite) pure maple syrup in the house. I bake with it and sometimes sweeten my milky coffee with it for a treat.
    .-= Andra´s last blog ..No Weigh Friday =-.

  3. Susan

    I used to go to sugar bushes every year when I was a kid! The best was when they’d pour hot syrup on snow, then it would melt and freeze into a maple popsicle 🙂

    New Brunswick has the best ever maple syrup – but I’m biased!
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Sweet and Savoury =-.

  4. Kim Zepp

    I grew up in a maple syrup town in NE Ohio. (We had an annual Maple Syrup Festival and all.) One year my dad made our own maple syrup. We tapped every tree on our street (with our neighbor’s approval) and we boiled it down in a huge metal tub. It was sooooo good. I don’t remember how much we ended up with, but I’d guess it lasted us almost a year. YUM!
    I love your pics. Looks like you had a great day!
    .-= Kim Zepp´s last blog ..7:48 =-.

  5. cindy

    I think I might be from the same town as Kim. We had the yearly maple festival. The trees would be tapped and i remember walking to school and tasing the clear liqid dripping into the buckets. I had several friends whose parents had sugar houses and we would get to go and watch syrup being made.Now I get my syrup at Costco.
    .-= cindy´s last blog ..ANOTHER SIGN OF SPRING =-.

  6. Kimberley

    I am Canadian…of course I have had real maple syrup.

    LOL! I haven’t been to sugar shack since grade school though. I believe we have one nearby, I will have to check when it is open until.

    Looks like you had a wonderful day.
    .-= Kimberley´s last blog ..One Meal at a Time =-.

  7. Fitcetera

    I still remember well the class trip we took in Grade 4 to Mrs. Parkinson’s family’s maple syrup farm near Kitchener, ONT. We saw the whole process like you did here and were able to take home samples. 🙂
    As a Canadian, I can wholeheartedly say that YES! I have had real maple syrup and continue to have it regularly.
    There are healthy benefits too: http://www.canadianorganicmaple.com/health_benefits.cfm
    .-= Fitcetera´s last blog .. =-.

  8. Alissa

    What an interesting post! I didn’t know very much about maple syrup making. It would be really interesting to visit one of those places. I don’t think I have ever had real maple syrup, it’s always so expensive but now I know why!
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..Weekend Update =-.

  9. Elaine

    We went to a maple sugar place in Edinburg, NY, which was old school: metal pails for sap-gathering, wood-fired boiler, etc. Very interesting. Hard to go back to maple-flavored corn syrup after you’ve had the real deal.

  10. John

    Great post. I haven’t been to a sugar bush since I was a kid. It’d be easier to count on one hand how many times we use fake maple syrup at home. I can only remember having the fake stuff once!
    .-= John´s last blog ..In The Mood =-.

  11. Ang

    True confession time: While I like the idea of real maple syrup I don’t actually enjoy the taste. I normally dislike processed food but I’m a big fan of sugar free Log Cabin syrup! Terrible, I know.
    .-= Ang´s last blog ..I Love St. Patrick’s Day! =-.

  12. MB

    All the sugar shacks were at full steam a couple of weeks ago with the freezing nights and warm days making for perfect conditions. The sugar was running really fast.

    Did you get to taste the sugar water before they started the boiling process? I know I was surprised that it was like water and not sticky at all. Some of the VT kids would even use the sugar “water” to brush their teeth. I don’t think their dentists would approve.

    Our neighbors in VT make syrup and I don’t think I’ve ever had such delicious syrup as I did when it was poured hot right out of the tap. The guys made special maple shots with hot maple syrup and whiskey. MMMMmmmmm….delicious.

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