I always start maple season with the best of intentions to post regularly on here. But the reality is that maple season is Very Busy, and unfortunately my good intentions don't make extra hours in the day. So here is a longish, picture-laden post where I catch up all at once...
Overall it was a decent year. We put in 100 or so extra taps this spring bringing us up to around 650 total. Last year we made about 150 gallons of syrup, and we had high hopes of hitting 200 this year. It was looking like we might pull it off, but a sudden warm up shut down our season all at once. We were just over 20 gallons short of the goal. By that time I think we were so ready for beautiful warm days that we were good with it. One thing that helped us this season was the high sugar content in the sap. It was 2.5% for much of the season. The higher the sugar content, the less sap it takes to make a gallon of syrup. They figure the average is 40 gallons of sap to one gallon of syrup. At 2.5% it's more like 35 gallons of sap to every gallon of syrup. Every sugar maker likes to see the higher sugar content! In the end we made mostly Amber syrup, a fair amount of Dark, and very little Very Dark. I'm thinking we are going to run out of the last before next spring, which is disappointing because we have a fair number of folks who strongly prefer the Very Dark with it's deep, robust flavor. We came close to not getting any at all with the weather changing all at once...thankfully we pulled off one batch at the very end.
We had a wonderful Maine Maple Weekend. We are always thrilled to see folks come back year after year, and we had so many new faces, too. It's a real treat to be able to show people around and explain the process to them. There's just something really special about it. We're already looking forward to and planning for next year!
After the sudden warm up ended the boiling part of our season, we still had the "picking up" part left. It's nobody's favorite part of making syrup, but with everyone chipping in, we get it done.
And now we're in limbo waiting for spring sunshine to finish making everything leaf out and turn green. This is what we've got going on here right now:
As promised, below is the link for the Maple Candied Pecans we sell from the sugar house on Maine Maple Sunday. They are super simple to make, and oh, so good! My favorite way to eat them is to add them to a bowl of Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Yogurt.... I tried it on a whim, and oh my, YUM! Now I'm thinking of making up a batch of these nuts and hiding them just so I can have them for my yogurt. The cayenne can be omitted. The spice is very subtle in the finished nuts, but it is there, and if you don't like heat at all, you may prefer these without. The recipe works great with walnuts, too.
Happy Spring, Everyone!~~