I just moved back to my home province of Ontario after living on the west coast of BC for seven years. I am house sitting for my friend’s parents in Gatineau Park and I am surrounded by a sugar maple forest. I am also something of a maple syrup connoisseur, so I figured I would tap a few trees in the neighborhood and see what happens.
What happened is that I got a pile of sap and I set about boiling it down. It has taken several experiments with my camping stoves to figure out that they don’t have enough oomph to boil a large amount of sap so I have been making small – really small – batches. But with considerable effort I have managed to make about 750ml of the marvelous stuff so far.
The ratio of sap to syrup is about 40:1. Making syrup isn’t difficult – just follow the directions here – but it is rather time consuming. The directions I was using said that if you don’t have a proper filter to use some wool to clarify the boiled sap. I figure that this is a throw back to the old days. I imagined some old timer toiling away to tap, collect and boil his sap then filtering it through his well worn sweaty toque to purify it. That didn’t sound very savoury to me. So I used a sock.
I thought this was very clever, but I guess the weave was not tight enough to remove some of the debris, so I resorted to using a couple layers of tea towels and voila! Pure, clear gorgeous tasty maple syrup.
If you live in Ottawa and you know me and I like you, then expect an invitation to a pancake feast to welcome spring.
If you live in Ottawa and you know me and you do not get an invitation to the feast then, well…you know.