Bottling Day

I spent all day today bottling syrup. I just finished doing a first swipe of the cleanup too. I’d say I spent 12 hours on and off today on the project. It is one of those projects where you can do other things while it is going on, but you’d better not get too involved in anything else, because you can lose a lot of work in a hurry if you let something slip out of control. It takes me longer because I do it on the kitchen wood stove.

I got 20 pints, which translates to 2 1/2 gallons if I do the math correctly. Last year I got 12 gallons plus a quart I think, so this year was pretty disappointing. That said, I only spent about a week in the woods this year, where it is 3 or 4 weeks most years. So I guess it is reasonable that I got such a small return.

Of this year’s pints, I got 11 that were pretty clear, and 9 that were darker. That makes sense to me because the last 9 came from the emptying of the evaporator, and the latest sap of the year was in that batch. Some of the sap was getting cloudy and even a bit yellow, which darkens the syrup and strengthens the taste.

I’m so glad once again I started doing this maple syrup thing. I’m surely never going to make any money at it on the scale I’m doing it, but I am picking up a valuable skill, and I believe I am really improving the forest by spending time out there. One of my favorite sayings is, “the best fertilizer is the farmer’s footsteps.”

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