I started the sap cooking this morning, even before I fed the horses. It takes the pan quite a little while get up to a rolling boil. While that was heating up, I took two 4 gallon buckets, and walked down the hill to the woods. I had to make 3 trips carrying both buckets full of sap, back up the hill to the garage. (our woods are at the bottom of the hill, our house, barn and garage are at the top of the hill!) Anyway, by the time I got all the buckets that were on the trees emptied, I had 27 gallons of sap. This was in addition to yesterdays 25. I cooked sap at a rolling boil all day. When Ed got home, we went down and emptied them all again and we had 15 more gallons!! Lucky for me, the weather changed and they slowed down some today. The stove can only do so much, you know!
Here are todays pictures. The full ones hanging on the trees were last nights run. And here is a photo of my cooking pan and stove. I fill the pan 3/4 full of sap and bring it to a rolling boil. I have a 3 ppound coffee can with two small holes punched in the bottom. I keep refilling that can with fresh sap all day long. It runs out into the cooker pan at a rate that will not stop the rolling boil. It took me awhile to figure out how to regulate the flow of fresh sap, so as to not stop my syrup from boiling. Gradually as the syrup boils, it concentrates into a sweeter and sweeter syrup. As long as I allow fresh sap to run into it, it will continue to boil off the water that is in the sap.
It generally takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. When the syrup is finally nearing the correct temperature, which is 7 degrees above the the boiling point of water, I bring it in the house where I can watch it closer, and finish it.
It is a lot of work, but oh, the end result is worth it all! I can understand why it is such an expensive product.