True confession time…maple syrup isn’t my favorite food item. I’d rather have the Mapleline flavoring that my grandmother used to make the sugar water taste like maple syrup and that brings back childhood memories. However, my husband and daughter love maple syrup and I love a project that makes them happy. Each year we head out into the wood and tap some trees.
My husband brings in the sap and I boil it down. For the last 10 years I’ve been boiling it in a big stock pot. That’s a good way to do it, but I get distracted. As any mom can tell you, watching a pot boil is not a productive thing to do.
So I let it boil and boil and boil. Next thing I know, the smoke detector is going off and I’ve created hard maple candy, most of it burnt and impossibly hard to clean off the bottom of the pan.
Last year I was introduced to the wonder of the syrup boiling pan. One of the ad executives from The Windham Eagle told me that For the Chef had a large rectangular pan that sits across two burners and boils the heck out of the sap. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make my syrup creation a better process. It took half the time to boil gallons of sap and I didn’t caramelize it to the bottom of the pan. Success.
I’m looking forward to boiling more sap this year in my pan, but we haven’t started yet because it has been so cold.
Sunday is Maple Syrup Sunday in the State of Maine. People will head to the sugar shacks and pancake breakfasts to sample the homemade syrup the professionals make. If you’ve never seen the process of how sap is made into liquid gold, I recommend you check it out this Sunday. Also, I recommend you try the vanilla ice cream topped with syrup. It’s yummy.
- Michelle Libby