The goal of this ible is to show you how to turn the sap you collected into a sugary sweet. You can see how the sap was collected here https://www.instructables.com/id/Tapping-a-Tree-for-Sap-Syrup/ if you are at that step. However, from now on, this assumes that you have already collected your sap.
Step 1: Material
You can get almost everything you need except for the filter by using an outdoor deep frying kit as I did.
You will need
- heat source (this will create a lot of humidity, I do recommend doing it outside). I am using a propane deep frying kit. This is great because it came with everything including an extra long thermometer that is the exact length to be as close to the bottom of the pot as possible.
- a large pot
- a long thermometer
- a filter \ cheese cloth. I used a fine mesh metal pot cover.
Step 2: Heat Your Sap to Boiling (212f \ 100c)
Getting your sap to boil will be pretty quick. What happens is as the water evaporates, it cools down the water, so it will stay around that temperature for a long time until the sugar gets concentrated enough to stop evaporating faster than it heats. At this point, it will start heating up again.
As the level goes down, just keep adding more sap, it will dilute it with water and keep boiling and evaporating quickly at 100c. If you wait too long, you will be wasting time; add sap once you get down to about 50% boiled away because it takes ever longer to evaporate.
You will also want to take out the scum at some point, you can wait until all your sap has been added and you are at a rolling boil.
Step 3: Heat Your Sap to the Desired Product Level
Once it is very low, the temperature will start to rise fairly quickly. Depending on what you are trying to make, you will have to aim for a certain temperature. You can't tell by looks, until it cools down, it will just keep looking like dark water.
- Maple syrup: 219f \ 104c
- Maple butter: 233f \111-112c
- Maple Taffy: 235-236f \ 113c
- soft sugar: 238f ] 114-115c
- hard sugar:244-245f \ 118c
As you can see, getting from water to syrup is pretty clean, and syrup to butter is again a fairly safe gap. However, from then on, it's pretty difficult if you don't have a higher quality thermometer than the deep fryer one I have. For that, a candy thermometer is necessary.
Step 4: Eat It...
... ALL OF IT!!!! :p