Well, the sapping season is done at this house! We boiled down about 50 gallons of sap from our two maple trees in our back yard, and finished up with 2 gallons of syrup. Or 16 pints, however you want to look at it. Last year after we finished boiling down all the sap we ended up with 13 pints and didn't quite make it through the year. This year we should be good to go! It seems like a lot of syrup but with a pancake and waffle loving house, homemade maple syrup doesn't last too long.
Once you have all your sap boiled down and it's almost syrup (temperature varies each year) around 217 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to filter out what's called sugar sand. It's just a bi-product of sap that is coming out of the trees and literally looks like sand. And just like sand I imagine, it doesn't taste very good. We use filters purchased from www.andersonmaplesyrup.com
For the most part people will boil in batches and then filter at the end of each batch. We decided to save filters this year and keep the boil going and filter once. Last night we finally had all our gallons of sap boiled down. Once it reached 217.9 degrees according to the hydrometer, it was syrup. If you boil too long it gets more candy like and if you don't boil it long enough it ends up like semi sweet water. But when it's officially syrup, that's when the magic happens.
Once our sap can now be called syrup we needed to filter it. We ran it through the filter into another clean container and then that one goes on the stove. The syrup needs to come back up to 180 degrees in order for it to be safe for canning. We got the temp up, the jars and lids sterilized and started pouring out the goodness! And here is our result. 16 jars of beautiful, delicious, and perfectly sweet home made maple syrup. It was a great year for us and can't wait to see how the season turns out for next year!