So since my last post, we've collected probably several gallons of maple sap from our two trees. The sap flow is slowing down now, but I'm curious if it'll pick back up in a few days when the overnight temperatures drop back down below freezing - we've been experiencing an unseasonably warm week!
So far I've been pretty happy with the spiles and tubing, but if I were to do this on a larger scale, I'd almost certainly buy the more traditional metal spiles and the lidded metal buckets that hook onto the spiles - as the snow melts, the plastic jugs keep sinking lower. In fact, this morning, the jug on the far right in the above photo had dropped so low that the tube popped out.
And this one hangs in the air until it's got enough sap in it to weigh it down. :P
On Thursday, I had a bit of time before work and started boiling some of the sap down. Friday, I got started nice and early.
This is what it looks like when you get started - perfectly clear. I drank a cup straight from the collection jug - it just tasted like sugar water (and apparently, it has lots of health benefits!! See this link for more information.)
This pot had been boiling for a little while - the color is starting to change.
And this is what I had started to boil on Thursday. From what I understand, it's fine to pause the boiling at any point and store the partially-boiled sap in the fridge, then put it back on the stove when it's convenient.
You can also keep adding fresh sap when the pot has boiled down some. So I did that all yesterday morning, boiling the sap and gradually adding more until, by the time I had to leave for work, it was all in two pots.
My amazing sister-in-law, Becky, babysat the boiling pots for me after I went to work, eventually combining them both into one pot when they had boiled low enough.
When I came home from work, THIS was on the stovetop:
It's so pretty!! :)
Now I just need to strain it, and then I can refrigerate it or can it.
This has been an excellent adventure, and I'm sure I'll do it again next year! :D