26 March 2008

You can brag about...

Your lakeshore condos and that bran' spankin' Porsche Turbo... but out here at the Halls, we're brewin' up the world's most expensive breakfast garnish.

At Mrs. Neo's behest, we finally, after six years on the property... went out and bought the gear to gather and produce our own maple syrup.

It's a pretty modest enterprise, consisting of a mere 6 buckets on 3 trees... but it's ours and we're proud of it. The buckets, spiles, lids and filters, to our initial horror, set us back 80 smackers... but we'll be amortising that over the next couple of decades so I guess it's actually no big deal.

It's coming up 24 hours and we have been simmering the first haul, off and on, all day. Apparently you need to boil down 40 gallons of sap to get one gallon of syrup.

It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out.



Ok... no syrup today.

I had to go out and Mrs. Neo was holding down the fort. Apparently there is a very fine line between concocting maple syrup and maple sugar. Mrs. N says that's the trouble with real life versus "book larnin'".

On the plus side, maple sugar is pretty tasty too.

We'll try again tomorrow.



Dave Hodson said...

40:1--That's a lot of sap boiling!

That must really spike the humidity levels inside the house?

I remember making syrup years ago at the cottage when I was only a few feet tall. Great fun indeed! I think I remember using plastic sand pails from the summer beach toys to gather the sap, and ballpoint pen casings to tap the trees? Probably not the best method, but it worked.

Neo Conservative said...

"dave says... That must really spike the humidity levels inside the house?"

we have an air-exchanger for the humidity, but i've been warned that everything in the kitchen is gonna get sticky from the vapour.

we'll see.


hunter said...

Start a big old fire out back and set it to boiling outside!

But don't take my advise, I just buy the stuff, I've never actually made it! Now, if you want help with pickles or perogies, that I know about.

Good luck, if you need taste testers....

Leslie said...

What a cool project! I wish you all the best with it...

James Goneaux said...

Rotsa ruck. I remember doing this as a teenager: my brother and I tapped every tree we could (most, but not all, of them maple according to my father) then set to boiling.

Now, this was over a wood fire outside, so there was no damage to the kitchen (mom's rule, that one).

I think by the time we got tired of the project, we had one small pail of what tasted very much like maple scented water...

Have fun, though. Even if it doesn't work out, you'll have memories that will last years. Like the scars on my lips from drinking from the not-really-cool-enough pail.

Mike said...

I've boiled and boiled and boiled some more with a buddy for a number of years now.

For outdoor boiling ... Some people use BBQ's, I'd recommend one of those outdoor deep fryers you can get at CTC.

Neo Conservative said...

i'm not proud... any and all tips appreciated.


Anonymous said...

We do it annually! It's a lot of work but worth it just for the 'it's ours' factor!
An outside fire is a must. We usually render the last in the house just because it is a smaller amount.
40/1 is about right so don't get your hopes up for a huge surplus.
The work is in the gathering, keeping the fire going and filtering frequntly in the end stages.
You and Mrs. Neo will have time to solve all kinds of world problems as you sit by the fire waiting, and waiting and waiting and appreciating Creation.
Definitely not for people in the fast lane.
We are a bit north of you so we'll be right in to it this w/e.


Neo Conservative said...

"bluetech says... worth it just for the 'it's ours' factor!"

my 11 year-old son was pretty excited about it... won't be too long before he hits that my parents are so uncool stage... so we're appreciating it all the more.