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Maple Syrup Production - The Complete Process (in 4K UHD) [No Talking]

 
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The COMPLETE End-to-End MAPLE SYRUP Production Process

Watch as we use a unique production setup to craft our delicious amber maple syrup. This video condenses a great many hours of labor into 1 hour of footage, filmed in glorious 4K Ultra HD for your viewing pleasure. :)



And what a season it has been! We were able to ring in another banner year with over 500 gallons of sap collected and just under 200 cups (11 gallons) of maple syrup!
 
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My season just got going.  All last week I got 40 gallons of sap off of 50 trees.  Since yesterday at noon I got 75 gallons off those same trees.  When dripping off that spoon it looked pretty thin yet.  Do you use a hydrometer to test before you bottle?
 
Matt Leger
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Mike Jay wrote:When dripping off that spoon it looked pretty thin yet.  Do you use a hydrometer to test before you bottle?



Indeed it was. Good eye! We had to keep boiling this batch on the stove for a while after which was not captured in the video. We do use a hydrometer as of this year but I'm still learning how to use it properly since you have to let the syrup cool down to room temperature which can make timing it a little tricky. This batch turned out too high in the end at 68 bricks. It was really thick! But oh so good! :) There was a bit of crystallization in one of the bottles which further proves it was overdone. We seemed to be either over or under throughout the season. Finishing the syrup is by far the hardest part! Every time I think it's over, it's under and vice versa haha. It's a skill I'm hoping to master after a few more seasons.

Thanks for watching and for your comment, Mike! Glad to hear your sap is finally flowing. We had a bit of a late season too but still managed to top ourselves from last year. Go figure. Cheers!
 
Mike Haasl
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I just got in from 10 hours of boiling.  Sweetest sap I've ever encountered.  I boiled 120 gallons down into just a shade under 4 gallons of syrup!  Almost 30:1 and that's on red maples!

My hydrometer has two red lines on it, one for room temperature and another for hot (211F for some reason).  So I can measure it as I draw off.  Unlike many people, I finish it on the evaporator.  My pan has a drain valve so I boil until it's just past syrup and then open the valve.  I measure over and over as the syrup pours into the bucket and shut it off when I get back down to syrup.

If I didn't have a hydrometer I'd probably play with a thermometer.  They say it's at syrup when it's 7 degrees above the boiling point (boiling point changes due to your elevation and can change daily depending on atmospheric pressure).  

If I didn't have a thermometer, I'd get better at looking at the drips off a spoon.  They go from small drips to sluggish bigger drips to bigger drips that leave a tail to drips that leave a lumpier bit behind to finally where they don't really drip any more.  They say it "sheets" but I'm not sure if that's the right word.  It's not drips though, it just sticks together and clumps drop off the spoon.
 
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Hi Matt, and Mike.

My partner says 219F is the temp he brings the sap up to when finishing, and does the drip thing on the spoon that Mike describes.

Cheers!  K
 
Matt Leger
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Wow that's crazy high sugar content! Congrats, Mike! Looks like it turned out to be a great season for you after all.

I also use the spoon/drip technique. I was going to mention it but I wasn't sure how to properly articulate it. Basically the way my grandfather always explained it was that the sap (or syrup at that point) will start to form small platelets as it drips and will become stringy, like Mike said. It takes a lot of practice and experience not to doubt yourself when it's ready.

I personally don't mind if my syrup is a little runny, that's how I prefer it actually, but if I'm giving it out to family and friends and potentially selling it at farmer's market down the road, I have to start using my tools more consistently. The laser thermometer and refractometer have definitely taken a lot of the guess work out of it this year. My magic number seems to be around 216-218 F. And our last 3 batches were 68, 67, 64 bricks.

Thanks Mike and Kate! :)
 
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Hi Matt,   Thank you for putting that video together. At around 10 min into the video, you put in chunks of frozen sap into the pan. Did you know that when sap freezes, the ice is mostly just water so it can save time and fuel by just throwing it out. Your sap will then be much more sugar concentrated.
I have verified this time and again with our refractometer and can also be proven by just tasting the ice vs the remaining sap... a big difference in sweetness!

 
Matt Leger
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Hi Gerry. Thanks so much for watching and for your comment.

Gerry Parent wrote:Did you know that when sap freezes, the ice is mostly just water so it can save time and fuel by just throwing it out.



I briefly touched on this in a documentary I made explaining how the native Americans used to do exactly that. I actually had another conversation going on this topic in another thread. We came to the conclusion that if time/energy/fuel permit, it's worth boiling the ice since there is still SOME sugar locked in there. Mind you, I would only do this early season when the sap is first starting to flow. On days when we are picking up 18+ buckets... heck no! I would chuck it.

I put this theory to the test myself this year on one of our first batches and I was surprised by how much we made. For a batch that was 75% ice, we got pretty close to the amount of syrup we would have made with pure sap. I was pretty shocked actually. I will need to test this again in subsequent years to be certain but it looks like there is enough sugar in the ice to hold on to it, at least for me in my area. Things may not be that way or as consistent elsewhere and throughout the season.

Also, notice how yellow the sap is during that part? What I was doing was separating the yellow sap (some people say not use yellow sap at all but we use it for cooking syrup) along with the ice from the "good sap". Once it melted, I would remove it, filter it and set it aside to boil on it's own. This allows me to use nearly 100% of what we collect without tainting the good stuff. It's an example of waste not, want not, I suppose. I even started using the foam I scoop off to mix in my compost tea for trees and plants. Nothing goes to waste! Not even the ashes from the fire.

Hope that explains the methodology of my madness and the madness of my methodology. Take care! :)
 
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