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Preserving Maple/Birch Sap?

 
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Hey there! I want to try to put up some sap (yes sap not syrup) and I was wondering if anyone has experimented with trying to keep it for more than a couple weeks without it fermenting.  I'm looking for a less energy intensive way to enjoy this incredible gift other than boiling it down to syrup. I'd especially be interested in some type of pasteurization and bottling. Thanks and happy tappin' :)
 
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Good question...  I've heard of it for sale so it must be preservable.  My hunch is that it's just water with some sugars and other plant juice mixed in so it should be pretty clean straight out of the tap.  I'd guess (that's just a guess) that if you boil it for a couple minutes and then seal it up in a hot, sterile mason jar that it probably would keep for a while.  
 
zurcian braun
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Hi I just wanted to follow up on this.  I did some investigating... For the commercial sap drinks, the sap is frozen first and sent to huge facilities where they can process it with a lot of pressure and heat that we can't do at home.


For us, we learned like with most things, if you want to preserve it without fermentation you have to acidify.  We experimented with different things including sumac, hibiscus, pine needles (P. strobus) and lemon juice.  All worked really well except for the pine needles.  Citric acid is of course an avenue as well.  After getting it to the desired PH we pressure canned the sap.  It's quite a bit of energy to go through the whole process but it makes for an incredible drink that we have been enjoying on special occasions.
 
Mike Haasl
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Cool, what pH did you need to get it to?
 
zurcian braun
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We just made sure it was under 4.6. Thanks for your response:)
 
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Thanks so much for this thread and sharing from your experiments! I haven't found anything else near as helpful online for what we might do with our maple sap to preserve it long-term (v.s. reducing it into syrup).

Would you willing to share how long you pressure canned it for and at what pressure? We'll be using quart jars, so I'm thinking something like 25 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure, but would love to know your experience.

Also, do you have a preferred method of measuring the Ph to verify you've gotten to 4.6 or lower?

Thanks for any input and all best to you and yours!

Sarah
 
zurcian braun
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Hi ok to be totally honest I can't remember exactly what we canned it at but it was probably around what you are thinking (also with quart jars). The main thing is to get the PH low enough.  We used test strips that measured between 0 to 6 in 0.5 increments.  If you search for something like kombucha PH test strips you can find them.  

Something that I didn't mention is that we employed the ancient technique of leaving the sap out in freezing temperatures overnight.  We then removed the ice and used the unfrozen liquid for preservation, making for a slightly sweeter concentration that balanced nicely with the sourness of the acidifiers.

Also a note on the plants: Lemons were fun but of course not from our region so we just did a few jars of that.  Hibiscus was for sure the most cost effective herb. The sumac-ade was the most local to us and involved foraging which is what we enjoy best.  But all were totally delicious.  We also added other herbs to some of the brews to make some extra special concoctions:)

We haven't been able to tap for the past couple winters but we actually just finished our last quart from that original batch this past fall.  Still super good!
 
Sarah Cushman
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Thanks so much for all this helpful additional context! It will be super useful as we experiment ourselves this sugaring season.

And I have down for us to circle back around and post any more suggestions from our experience.

So appreciate your sharing - and this community as a collective resource!

Sarah & family
 
zurcian braun
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Awesome I'm looking forward to hearing about how it goes:)
 
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