By Richard DeVries
We tapped the first sugar Maple on March 7 this year and we pulled all the taps on April 7. The season lasted 31 days, exactly one month. During that period we had some warm weeks and some cold weeks and only a handful of days that the sap was flowing. We tapped a total of 270 sugar Maples and we ended up with 49 gallons of Maple syrup this year, that is about 15 gallons below average.
We store the syrup in 5 gallon containers in a undisclosed location. The syrup needs to be at a minimum temperature of 180 degrees when we put it in a container. The temperature sterilizes the container and with a good seal on the cap the syrup can be stored at room temperature.
When the gift store needs more bottles we take one of the 5 gallon drums, heat it back up and repeat the hot-packing process. Sugar is a natural preservative and with a good seal on the cap the bottle can be stored at room temperature again. After opening it needs to be refrigerated because we don’t add any other preservatives.
We finished cleaning all the lines, tanks, pans and other equipment and it is stored away till next spring.
A lot of work for a short season but the sweet treat of pure Maple syrup makes it worth the effort.