We are in the midst of our maple sugaring season at Ahimsa homestead and its been a strange one! Maple sugaring season generally runs from late February to mid-to-late March in our part of the world (Central Pennsylvania) however this year’s been different. We tapped when we always do – late February. It was a nice, sunny winter day and the flow was good. Then it got cold, very cold – highs below freezing – for a couple weeks. The taps stopped cold literally! The weather has been erratic ever since – mostly too cold for good flows. So we’ve been boiling whenever we get enough to make a few quarts (the ratio is approximately 40:1 – 40 gals of sap = 1 gal. of syrup). We usually wait until we have enough to make a couple gallons before firing up our small maple arch.
The process is a pretty simple one. Basically it involves tapping the trees, hanging buckets, gathering the sap daily. Once we get enough to do a boil we fire up our small maple arch (we use dead pine wood), get a good rolling boil going, and boiling it down until its close to syrup. We take it off and finish it in the kitchen (in our opinion its too risky to boil it down to syrup in the pan – we’ve lost a couple batches trying to do this). We have a lot more control in the kitchen. We use a maple hydrometer to test the density of the syrup (66% sugar content). When its done we take it off and can it.
Every year we are always happy to have people come out and help with the process!
Check out our Maple Sugaring 2014 photo album.