Due to the 40 to 1 ratio that dictates turning maple sap into syrup (that’s right, it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup – no wonder the stuff is expensive!), we knew that five gallons would not yield much syrup but we decided to give it a go anyway. Woefully unprepared, we ended up boiling the sap down over a number of hours, indoors (which is really not recommended, especially if you have wallpaper anywhere in your house!), in four separate pots. When we were done, the house had been thoroughly humidified and smelled very mapley, indeed.
Something went slightly amiss (there’s no candy thermometer at our house and we appear to have misinterpreted what “sheeting” looks like) and we ended up making maple sugar instead of maple syrup.
I really can’t complain about this mistake — the sugar is rich and startlingly sweet with a lovely mellow maple flavor and surprising hints of vanilla. I’ve been putting a couple lumps in my coffee in the morning and sneaking little spoonfuls here and there when I can no longer resist the urge.
My husband wants to try doing another boil (outside, this time) to see if we can get the timing right to make syrup instead of sugar. I bought a candy thermometer at Woodstock Hardware in preparation and we’re gathering firewood and setting up a fire pit. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous. Wish us luck!
Thanks again to our noble, majestic friends, the maples. Oh, and keep an eye out – a very nice, simple maple pecan scone recipe is coming your way soon.
You might also like: