Adventure-a-Day: Maple Sugaring

31 03 2008

It is nearing the end of Maple Sugar season, and hopefully all of you will have delicious (real) maple syrup on your tables to go along with your pancakes and waffles, and all sorts of other treats. One of my Adventure-a-Day adventures was helping the farm here at Hampshire with their annual Maple Sugaring… come take a look at how tree sap becomes maple syrup!

Tapping the Sugar Maple trees is an exciting process. First you drill a hole with a slight upwards slant into the maple tree, careful not to drill too close to a hole from previous years. We used a regular drill – nothing fancy. Then you hammer in a thin metal tap and hang a bucket on it. This process is repeated until all the Sugar Maples are adorned with one, two or, for the really big trees, three buckets. Pretty soon everywhere you look in the woods you see buckets.

Buckets On Trees

And I do mean everywhere…

Buckets Everywhere

The buckets collect sap very quickly, and they need to be emptied frequently. Can you see how much sap has dripped down into the bucket?

Bucket Up Close

After the sap has been collected from the buckets, it is time for the long process of boiling the sap down into delicious maple syrup! For this step of the process, we go into a little place known as the…

Sugar Shack

Boiling down sap into maple sugar is, as I mentioned, a long process. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple sugar! That’s a lot of water that needs to be boiled off…

Steam

After enough of the water has been boiled away (you keep track by measuring the pressure of the sap-turned-syrup) all that’s left to do is fill bottles with maple syrup and enjoy! And let me tell you, there’s nothing better than scalding your fingers and tongue by eating fresh out of the boiler (about 180-200 degree) maple syrup.

 

 

If you want to read more of my daily adventures, feel free to visit my Adventure-a-Day page!

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