It’s been quite a few years since we’ve made maple syrup at the cottage. Either the kids were too little and running wild, or the weather conditions weren’t right (you need freezing nights & warm sunny days or the sap won’t flow). This year was perfect – we arrived early enough in the day to tap about 15 maple trees. The kids are now old enough to be active participants in our Easter weekend ritual, and they actually “get it”. With great enthusiasm, they got right in there, looking for maples, tapping, collecting sap, and hanging out by the fire, without the lure of marshmallows.
This is Mother Earth, feeding my little one with nutrient-rich nectar from her soul.
The Koreans drink the sap in huge quantities every spring for it’s wide range of health benefits.
Drill about 2 inches, with a slight upward slant (preferably on the sunny side of the tree) the sap can flow out with gravity.
Gently tap in spigot, and hang bucket.
We ran out of buckets, so we improvised with large Ziplock bags.
Check every now and then, and empty sap into large pots for the first boiling.
Over the course of two days, we collected approximately 50 litres of sap and ended up with
just over a litre of maple syrup. If we had sugar maples, our ratio would’ve been more like 30:1.
It takes a loooooong time to boil down, so keep busy – check on the fire, do some gardening, make lunch, have tea with the chickens.
Cooking over the wood fire gives the syrup a nice smokey flavour. Keep a rolling boil until most of the water has evaporated.
Then do the second boil on the stove for better temperature control. It should reach 219°F for syrup.
A trick my friend David taught me – add egg white at the end of the boiling process to clarify the syrup. All the fine sediment will stick to the egg, and float to the top. Skim and discard the “gag”.
Pour hot syrup through a coffee filter into a sterilized jar for a final filter, in case there’s any “gag” left. I sterilize jars in an oven set at 200°F for 10 minutes. Change the filter if it clogs up. Sap collected early in the season will produce a lighter golden syrup. Sap that’s late in the season is higher in antioxidents & minerals and makes an amber coloured syrup.
These pancakes were okay, not the fluffiest as my baking powder was dead (who knew that happens?).
Test by adding a teaspoon of baking powder into 1/3 cup of hot water. It should boil vigorously.
Liquid gold. Well worth the effort. Once set up you could go into production for weeks.
BEST FLUFFIEST PANCAKES
Aside from fresh baking powder, the secret to the fluffiest pancakes
is to mix with the gentlest hand, and sifting dry ingredients.
Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl:
- 2 cups Flour
- 4 tbsp Sugar
- 4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl:
- 2 eggs
- 1-1/2 cup Milk
- 1/2 cup Melted Butter
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- Stir wet mixture slowly into dry mixture (no lumps this way), until just moistened, be gentle and try not to over mix.
- Make sure griddle is hot on medium high heat, lightly smear surface with some canola oil; not butter as it will burn & smoke.
- Spoon batter onto griddle, and wait a few minutes for bubbles to appear on surface, then flip over. The pancake will “inflate”.
- Wait few more minutes on the other side till golden brown, and remove. Have tray with foil ready to keep them warm. Makes about 24, 4-inch pancakes, serves 4-6.