Making Maple Syrup at Home
A few years ago we stopped using white sugar and refined sweeteners. We switched to using real, natural sweeteners as they are better for us. On our homestead that means maple syrup and honey are pretty much all that we keep in stock. I have managed to adapt most of the recipes we use regularly so that I can use liquid sweeteners but I do keep a small container of evaporated cane juice on hand in case I have to use granulated sugar.
Now, I don’t know if you know this but, maple syrup ain’t cheap. It’s one thing if you are buying a small bottle to use on pancakes a couple times a month but when its all you use…yikes! A big part of why we homestead is to save money and the other big reason is to become more self sufficient. So, it just made sense for us to start making our own syrup.
We started this season by tapping two trees. We weren’t sure exactly how much sap we would get (it depends on the year, the tree, and the weather) but figured it would be a good place to start. We set up an easy and inexpensive outside boiling system of pavers and an old hotel pan and got to work.
For a video tour of our set up check out our video on our Katch page
This season we managed to collect around 75 gallons of sap which given the weird weather we’ve had, was pretty great. We boiled it down until not quite syrup out over the fire and then transferred it into a large stock pot. We finished the syrup on our kitchen stove so that we could keep a closer eye on it and better control the temperature. Once it was syrup, we canned it in mason jars so that we could store it all year.
It wasn’t nearly as difficult or challenging a project as I thought it might be and honestly, we’ve had a lot of fun doing it. The whole family and some friends will gather around the fire and watch the sap bubble away. We’ve had picnics out there and everything! Plus, We have about a gallon and a half of syrup to use all year long.
Have you ever made maple syrup? I’d love to hear all about it!