Now for the good stuff! If you missed yesterday and have questions about the sap end of it, scroll on down and read the post I did yesterday.
How does sap become maple syrup? It boils down for hours to get the water content out of it and leave the sugar content. In that process it turns brown. We boil the sap in the saperator until it reaches the temperature of about 216 degrees. At that point there is about 2.5 gallons of maple syrup in the finishing off pan. We draw it off and as we draw it off we add sap from the boiling pan into the finishing off pan and when the temperature drops we know to stop the flow and bring the pan into the house. From there we check to see if we are floating any bricks. Bricks? Yes. We use a tall stainless steel test cup and a hydrometer and when the syrup is at 216 degrees and the right consistency it will float 60 bricks. That is when it's ready. If it's not floating 60 bricks I continue to boil it down until it is at the 60. When it is all done and ready to be bottled... I make sure the bottles are washed, the lids are hot and the screw covers are ready. As well as the "sock" to strain it through to keep any more tree dirt out of the finished product and make it look nice! My husband comes in to hold the sock and I dump in the maple syrup. Once strained it's bottled and covered to seal. Last year I had a video I put up of some of the process of sugaring. Not this year.
Are there any other tools you can use? Yes. It is called a refractomerter. Sounds painful I think. You take some of your syrup and put a little drop on the end slide and look up to the light. It will tell you the sugar density of your syrup. Kinda fun. We have used it before.
Are there different colors of maple syrup? Yup. For Maine it's graded from Fancy Grade A Light Amber, Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber, and Grade B in color. You can buy a kit every season and grade it. We never have. In the early part of the season it's lightest, then as the season goes on it gets darker.
Does it taste different due to the color? Yes. Each one has a slightly different flavor.
How do you bottle it? We usually use mason jars. But we have used the plastic jugs in quart size before.
Does the size of the bottle change the color? Yes. The thicker the glass the darker it looks. That's why lots of producers use the fancy bottles to show the beautiful color.
Does the type of year you have effect the price? Yes. Some producers go up. Most times it's around $50-$60 a gallon.
Do you sell it? Yes.
That is all I can think of for now.
As you can see there is a lot of work to be done from start to finish. This has been a really bad year like I said yesterday. Our taps are being pulled this afternoon and everything washed and put to bed for the year. If you have any questions feel free to ask or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will do my best to answer any and all questions you have.
Have a great day all!