Last week, we ran out of wood for our outdoor cinder block evaporator. That was it, we decided- the end of maple syrup season. We probably could’ve gotten a few more days out of it, but we already had almost 5 gallons of syrup, and we just didn’t need any more than that. So out came the taps from the trees, in came the buckets, and everything was washed and put away.
Speaking of washing, my poor husband had quite the time trying to bring this pan back to its original state:
In case you can’t tell what you are looking at, let me tell you. THIS, my friends, is what happens when you walk away from a boiling pan of maple sap for too long. This is what happens when you are up late at night practicing music with your husband and you both forget to go out and check the fire. This is what we called, “maple lava rock.” Otherwise known as an inedible, crystallized, burnt, big old waste of sap.
We had such a surplus of sap leftover from the previous night that I decided to try and get the fire going early the next morning. I spent about an hour and a half alternately trying to start the fire on a drizzly, windy day, and working on getting my almost-two-year-old up on my back in a woven wrap so I could go collect that morning’s sap.
Neither effort was successful. The fire wouldn’t stay burning, and my daughter hollered in protest at getting on my back. I think I may have grumbled and grumped a bit, then I brought in a bucket of sap and started boiling inside on my stove. I figured it was better than nothing.
And I promise you, I was sitting right there. In the kitchen, reading to V, when I heard that awful slosh and sizzle sound telling me that something was boiling over. Let’s just say that it’s kind of tricky to remove a large lasagna-pan of boiling maple sap from your stove quickly- even with oven mitts on.
After I turned off the smoke alarms and aired out the house, I stopped to take this picture for you. Aren’t you glad?
Last year, we didn’t burn a single batch of syrup. I laughed at the people who were so thoughtless as to neglect their sap and burn it. What carelessness, right? God must have thought he needed to take my pride down a notch. 😉
We did manage to get a few more successful batches of syrup in before we ended the season. And I am very grateful for the generous amount of syrup we were able to collect. But do, learn from our mistakes and remember the moral of the story:
Always watch your sap near the end of its boiling time. Always.
P.S. The Homegrown Food Summit starts today! Pop on over to register & see what lessons you can learn from leaders in gardening and homesteading. Save yourself from some of our mistakes by learning from the best. 😉
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