Monday, April 4, 2011

Boiling Sap

Some friends of ours collect maple sap each year and spend the better part of March boiling and boiling until it condenses into that amber ambrosia, syrup. And each year, they invite the community to their sugar camp to eat pancakes, french toast, fried corn mush, and hash. And maple syrup is available to those who want to buy.

This year the event was yesterday (Sunday).

The sap is pretty much done running now - at least the clear sap. Now that the buds are beginning to expand, the sap gets cloudy and the cloudiness can't be removed from the syrup. These pails are put on the trees for effect, I think.

The sap comes from several different woods, and once the pails are emptied into tanks pulled by 4-wheelers, it is accumulated into this bulk tank to be driven a couple miles down the road to the sugar shack.

The sap is then pumped out of the bulk tank, into a tank pulled by another 4-wheeler, then pulled up the hill where it is fed, by gravity, into the shack where it will be boiled.

Here's one of the boiling pans. It was like a steam bath in here.

Tyler here explains where the sap comes from, and is pailing the sap as it first comes in so it doesn't burn as the temperature rapidly rises to boiling. Once it boils, it essentially pans itself, and doesn't burn.

It takes a lot of wood to boil down the sap.

What does this have to do with bike riding, you ask. Probably nothing, except I rode in the morning on Sunday, and was famished when I got here. But after eating french toast and fried corn mush, all drenched in maple syrup, I was very happy and satisfied.

Gotta go - the big game is ready to start. Go Bulldogs! My daughter almost chose to go to college at Butler, but instead chose Purdue. We could have been sitting in Houston tonight! Of course, if Purdue had kept winning, we could have been sitting in Houston tonight, too!

Happy riding!


Steve A said...

If she'd picked UConn you could go as well. Very nice telling about the sugar shack. I never knew that was more than a song lyric.

limom said...

That's pretty cool!
That's also a lot of wood!
Is there a reason why they use wood?

Big Oak said...

Steve, sadly, how true.

limom - it's the cheapest source of fuel - it's from the woods and fencerows, and it's free (if you don't count the time to cut, haul, and stack). The boilers have been burning for over a month straight. That'd be a tremendous gas bill!

jeff said...

Nice post about syrup. Mmmmm syrup. And I was pulling for the Bulldogs too. Hope they're back there soon.

DAN_the_MAN said...

Awesome! I have done this since I could walk. Thanks for putting this kind of thing out their.

twofeetofftheasphalt said...

I have never been to a sap boiling. But I will, if I get the chance. Last year, we had some people come through the neighborhood, collecting sap from all the hard maples, but I did not have any to contribute.

Trevor Woodford said...

Very interesting maple syrup.....


rlove2bike said...

We used to boil the sap, but not near as big an operation as that. It was fun, but a lot of work just the same.

Chandra said...

I like all things Maple!
Glad you had fun!!
Peace :)