From Mr. Handsome:
Last winter went down in family history as our first year making maple syrup from the trees on our property. You may remember our blog post about it. We had much success and even more fun that we decided to give it another try this year. The first weekend gave us our purest and tastiest syrup yet.
We upped our game in a few different ways. First, we actually bought equipment from an authentic maple syrup supply company, instead of using metal pipe and plastic tubing from Home Depot. We were able to get a tighter seal all the way from the tree to collection bucket so no bugs or rainwater can contaminate the sap. We also upgraded our filters to remove more of the sediment and create a more pure syrup.
What didn’t change was how much time it took to make the syrup. It takes something like 50 gallons of sap to yield one gallon of syrup. I spent all day boiling sap over a fire just to get about a quart and a half of syrup. It is obviously not a cost effective or time efficient way to get syrup, but the experience is what matters. For a lot of the time, Little Buddy sat with me.
An added benefit was that boiling maple syrup turned out to be a great science lesson for Little Buddy. We had just read a book about how matter can move from solid to liquid to gas. Little Buddy was literally able to watch a solid turn into a liquid and then a gas when he saw the chunks of frozen sap melt and then boil off into steam.
He then asked, “Daddy why does hot air rise?” I was dumbfounded that a four-year-old had the mental capacity to see the hot steam rise and wonder why it happened. It turned out to be a very difficult question to answer in an age appropriate way. I tried to explain how the molecules move faster, which causes them to expand, making the air less dense. This was unfortunately over his head, but I assured him he will learn all about it when he is older.
The day spent boiling maple syrup turned out to be a sweet success!