Boiling down

tubingsugar houseboiling pansfellowshipToday we had the chance to see the sap – to- syrup process in action. Some local friends have a sugar bush. They use the tubing method to collect sap from about 75 sugar maples on their property. The sap drains downhill through the tubing into a large tub at the bottom. Their sugar house is a wonderful little log cabin nestled in the woods by a stream and the large collection tub sits right outside the back of the building. From the tub there is a pipe that carries the sap, which is the consistancy of water, to a tap inside. From here they fill a bucket and pour the sap into a preheater which warms the sap before it goes into the boiling pan. This particular set up uses two boiling pans, one that drains into the other. The first one contains less concentrated liquid; the second pan contains what will eventually be syrup. These pans lie atop an altered wood burning stove that is regularly stoked with hardwood and forced air to keep the fire hot and the sap boiling. It’s a long, slow process to concentrate the sugar in the sap into maple syrup. Depending on the sugar content of the sap, it can take from 40 – 70 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. But here in Vermont it can be a social occasion, the gathering of friends for food and fellowship… and syrup tasting. Yummmm.

We have some sugar maples on our property and have toyed with the idea of trying to make some syrup. This summer we’ll try to ID the trees and acquire the required gear (probably the traditional buckets at first and we won’t have the sugaring house). Then next Spring we can drill a few holes and set about the adventure for ourselves.

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2 Responses to “Boiling down”


  1. 1 David April 1, 2007 at 4:50 am

    Mmmmmmm… looks like a good time. I sure want waffles now! 🙂

  2. 2 samptm April 1, 2007 at 6:04 am

    You’ve been busy on your blogs. Great reads. Our friends used to tap their trees in Newtown. Luckily they had teenagers who didn’t mind being up all night for days tending the fires. But the result was worth it. Is there some place you can take the sap and they boil it down for you?
    Wow, your art is really wonderful. And the sketching is making big progress. You make me want to march right up to my studio and produce. I’ve had my granddaughter (15) and her dad here all week and we had a super fun time exploring Manhattan, seeing Phantom and shopping. And now tomorrow I start watching the little ones so as usual, art takes a backseat. Frustrating.


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