I was bored to tears and needed a hobby to get me through the last throes of winter, so I decided to tap into some sugar maples right out front. The third week of March I started what would become a seemingly endless stir-crazy endeavor–making maple syrup. My friend Scott brought some taps and tubing, and a couple of buckets. And so it began.
I borrowed the rest of the equipment from Brenda of the Mountain Inn just up the road–a big stainless steel cooker that I hooked up to the gas line in my garage. But I cooked the first batch on the stove–steamed up every window in the barn. I stayed up two nights in a row cooking the stuff down. Next day it had all turned into rock hard sugar, so I melted it down again and turned it into maple candy.
That’s actually easier than making syrup. Syrup is a long, long, long, tedious process of cooking, stirring, and skimming the foam. It’s sap, it’s sap, it’s sap, it’s sap, it’s runny, it’s syrup, it burns, it’s sugar. That’s the way it goes if you’re not very careful at the end. You gotta catch it just right.
I now know why it costs $55 a gallon. It should cost twice that, cause it’s a pain in the butt.
Then again, it might be worth it.