This is repost reminding you to think about getting your supplies in order, sap season is around the corner.
Welcome to Gerry's Micro Sugarhouse. We have three trees tapped and are hoping for a total production of 2 to 3 quarts (closer to a gallon by April 6th). The Aga is the evaporator pan. It vents outside so no steam inside. It's always on, provides consistent heat with no boil overs.
In a little over a week we've cooked down about 10 gallons or so of sap and have a good quart of finished product. It's grade B or better in color and has a soft buttery maple flavor. The clarity is fine. Maybe no crazy rolling boil is good for that.
Let's see how this went down in the Aga Kitchen so far.
Gather up these supplies
- as many taps and buckets as you want. One tap yields 1 qt. You can get these supplies at your local farm store or from the interweb.
- a carboy or some other large clean bucket to carry sap
- a large stainless steel pot or two
- candy thermometer
- cheese cloth and a fine mesh strainer
Here is what I did
- gathered my sap and strained into a stainless pot. I've been cooking down between two and three gallons a day
- into the Roasting Oven for around 12 to 14 hours. Let the sap reduce to a few quarts
- strain and save the reduced sap in fridge in clean container
- once I got a gallon or so of the reduced sap I cooked that in the Roasting Oven. Once it started to boil rapidly (it boils harder as sugar content gets concentrated) I put a thermometer on it. Once it hits 218 to 220 degrees it's syrup. This took a few hours in the oven. I finished it on the Simmer Plate so I could watch the temperature.
- Strain thru cheesecloth and into a jar
I'll keep this post updated and make changes as I continue. What's cooler than making syrup while you sleep?
UPDATE: April 6. Here are a few bullet points of what I've learned so far.
- treated aluminum stock pots work better than stainless steel
- sometimes there is so much steam it may drip a little from the door, usually when it is just getting started
- 5 gallons of sap takes about 48 hours in the Baking Oven. My bigger aluminum stock pot fits in my baking Oven but not my Roasting Oven
- this is a lot of juggling, three taps is plenty for an Aga
- very satisfying, worth tapping a few trees if you live in maple country