First Time – Sugaring on the Weekend.

Yes, it’s getting sweet and sappy here on because for the first time in my life I made maple syrup!
Look What We Found, and boiled!
All my years in the woods, all my stories of pruning, chopping, tending tress and I’d never tapped one. I’ve never made maple syrup before. I’ve never visited a Cabane au Sucre. I’ve never had maple taffy fresh from the snow.

I felt I had failed as a Canadian to accomplish this basic of all basic rituals, this cultural rite of passage, this symbol of all that is woody, sappy and Canadian. Until this weekend!60 cups of sap, just short of 3 cups of syrup! woo hoo!

Sunday we were out beating the bounds at my friend’s farm. The line of maple trees along the edge of their property were decorated with blue buckets and so we went to investigate further.  The trees had been tapped by a neighbour, with permission, and he was collecting the sap.  The sap was moving and the buckets were overflowing, so we decided we’d checking with the neighbour to see if we could take some of the excess for a small experiment.  Turns out he was done sugaring for the season and we could have all the sap we could collect.

Filtering the Sap

That was almost 40 litres! We did it in 2 batches, including filling a cooler jug with sap to process at home.

Unfortunately the day was so windy I couldn’t get the sap to boil outside, even after sitting with it for almost 2 hours.

So we brought it inside. Then it was all about boil the sap down and down and down and down.

Skim and repeat – boil, boil, boil


We even used some of the maple sap in dinner, braising the brussel sprouts in it rather than just pain water. That was a fantastic idea and they tasted great!
Brussel Sprouts in Maple Sap

We watched Game of Thrones, which seemed appropriate, besides we’re all fans. But after that we had to come home.  So we packed the much reduced hot sap in sterile jars and liquor bottles to bring it home and finish up here.
Not Done, but we had to travel

This morning I finished the first batch. Luckily our kitchen opens to outside and we could boil and reduce for hours without creating a sauna.
Finishing the First Batch
60cups which netted us 3 cups of syrup.
60 cups of sap produces this much Syrup
And then we did the jug of sap, which measured in at 77 cups, and netted us another 4 cups or so of syrup.

Duncan with Batch 2

I’m holding off making pancakes until tomorrow morning, and then I’m going to have a big feed with a restrained amount of home made syrup.   I can’t tell you how excited I am!

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

3 thoughts on “First Time – Sugaring on the Weekend.

  • April 11, 2013 at 11:56 am

    With shout outs to Gerry Thorpe, Bill Tilford, Marion Cunningham and Duncan Tilford who made this sugaring adventure possible. Thanks all!

  • April 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    alexaclark That’s pretty labour-intensive! Love the maple braised brussel sprouts. Now we’re all really craving some homemade maple syrup.

    • April 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      .TwoMenCanada I figure the trees did most of the work, I just lifted, carried and turn on the heat. But delighted I triggered a craving.


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