Wild foods, edible plants and herbs found in the North Eastern U.S. and South Eastern Canada
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One of the most over looked of survival foods is maple syrup, maybe because to window to collect the sap is so small. But as prepper who love to fill our pantries with foods that we have personally harvested it is a wonderful addition to supplies. It is much easier to produce then one might think but will require a good source of fuel to cook down.
collecting the sap can be done in many ways but the main idea is to bore a hole about the size of a mans little finger about an inch and a half deep into the bark of a maple tree, birch tree or popular tree. And then insert a tap that can be as simple as a tube that fits the hole snug and hangs down away from the tree so that the sap can drip into a collection bucket. you can fashion taps out of any kind of small pipe or tubing that fits or buy commercial taps that you can even hang the bucket on. All are very cheep to have in prep supplies. a couple dozen such taps is plenty for most home syrup makers.
Once you have collected the sap it is time to boil it down. Do not do this in your home or your walls will be running with vapor. You can use pots and pans over an open fire or have a stainless flat pan made for you. The larger the surface area the faster it will cook down. But small batches can be done in a canning kettle and is still fun. It takes about 40 gallows of maple sap and about 65 to 80 gallons of birch or popular sap to make one gallon of syrup. The storage of sap is the biggest use of equipment as you need a fair amount of buckets and jugs or water bottles to keep it. I like the five gallon water bottles because they are easy to handle.
when you cook it down don't worry about burning it until the very end. you can get it as hot as you want as long as it is boiling it will not exceed 212 degrees until the sugars are higher as it becomes syrup. once it hits about 215 to 216 degrees it is close to being done and you need to pay attention to it that is has room so it will not boil over. at 218 to 220 it is done. If you then put it in sterile jars and seal with a water bath boiler for 10 minutes your done.
What I like about maple syrup season is it happens when the ice is breaking up so I can not fish much and hunting seasons are over and its still to early to start finding mushrooms or working a garden. So it is the a great way to continue adding preps when nothing else is happening.
It will take a lot of what ever fuel you are going to use to cook it down so you may wish to research the best method for the supplies that you are going to use.
This is our first year making our own. So far, 39.5 gallons of sap has made 5 quarts of the sweetest maple syrup I've ever tasted. It's been so much fun and not a great deal of work like I thought it would be. Just waiting for spring weather to come back to our Michigan area so the sap will start running again!
6 posts • Page 1 of 1
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