Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From Sap to Syrup

Sunday was one of those "just in time" outings. We headed to the Richardson Nature Center to observe and learn about the maple syrup process - their final presentation of the year.

We saw the evaporator at work, boiling the sap down. That's steam, not smoke, we were told.
And it smelled heavenly. The fire, that is.

We learned that the four kinds of maple trees can produce sap with different sugar levels. The higher the level of sugar (say 5%) the less sap needed to make a gallon of syrup.

This is a device that collects a sample of sap and tests its sugar level.
Someone in the background has a sweet tooth!

We tasted the runny, clear sap...
...then made sure to lick every last morsel of the tiny syrup sample we were given...
...and wished we were old enough to try what everyone else was raving about.
We learned that syrup will be darker in color early in the season and will become lighter as the month wears on.
We enjoyed a short walk in the woods.
And we waited. Waited for the sap to drip from the spout.
Considering it takes 86 gallons of 1% sugar level sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, I'm guessing they will be well into their 60's until they have enough to boil down into the good stuff.
We saw beautiful trees.
And one of us enjoyed a ride back to the car.
It was a full and glorious day.

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