Making Maple Syrup

Making Maple Syrup
March 2, 2019 Christina Mullin

Exciting news! I discovered that I have sugar maple trees in the woods by my house. They are 30+ years old and ready to be tapped.

I have never done this before nor had I ever considered that I could actually do this, and yet, this naturally falls into line with my desire to live increasingly off my land.

Tapping a tree is when you drill a small hole on the south side of the tree, insert a spout into that hole, and attach a bucket to that spout, with a lid over the bucket (to keep debris from falling into the bucket).

The sap flows best when daytime temperatures are above freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) and nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. The rising temperature creates pressure in the tree generating the sap flow. This is basically a transfer of the sap from

the tree above the ground and the root system below the ground (amazing!). Tapping the tree does not hurt the tree and once the spout is removed, the hole will naturally repair itself. The sap flows for 4-6 weeks approximately.

We tapped just 4 trees, put the spouts in, and as soon as we hooked up the buckets, the sap started dripping (not flowing). By the next day, we had collected several gallons!

In just 3 weeks, we have collected 20 gallons of beautiful maple water ‘sap.’

Did you know that you can drink the maple water just like that and it’s very refreshing, besides being rich in minerals. Maple water contains 16 times more potassium, 37 times the calcium, and 3.9 times the magnesium contents of spring water. All 3 of these are essential for optimal bone health. Maple sap has been found to lower blood pressure, supports a healthy immune system and contains antioxidants. It also contains sugar, so drink in moderation.

Once the sap was emptied into food grade buckets, and brought to where we had set up a cooking stove outdoors in the open wood shed, and not too far from the house, it was filtered into the stainless steel cooking pots. I used an organic mesh cloth as the filter, which worked perfectly at catching bits of bark that had found their way into the sap. In fact, this freshly cleaned ‘filter cloth,’ is from the same batch that I have used for years, as an excellent reusable lettuce-storage wrap in the refrigerator.

The cooking stove came with me from Los Angeles, when I moved here 18 months ago. I initially bought it as part of my emergency earthquake supply kit, and it had never been used in the 20+ years I had it. Here it is, working brilliantly as an outdoor cooker for the maple syrup. I had been warned that I shouldn’t render it down indoors, as it would leave a sticky residue all over my kitchen.

Hours and hours of boiling resulted in three jars of delicious golden maple syrup. And more to come till the end of the season!

Pancakes have never tasted as good as with the River’s Edge maple syrup drizzled on them!

Over the years, I have tried many different pancake recipes, and my favorite one still is the one I keep on coming back to:

PW’s Pancake

~all ingredients used are organic~

1 ¼ cup of flour

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 teaspoons of double acting baking powder

¾ teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 egg

1 1/3 cup of raw milk (or whole organic milk)

3 tablespoons of avocado oil

1-In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2-In a smaller bowl, mix egg, milk and avocado oil. Then pour this mix into the dry mix, and combine well until it’s smooth.