Thursday, March 31, 2011

We're into the B...


By the looks of things, we are into "B" syrup season. Maple syrup is graded on its quality and color; ranging from lightest amber to dark, rich brown. (That's actually density and translucency if you want to get technical) While the tourists seem to gravitate towards the lighter stuff, those of us diehard maple lovers hoard the darker, "B" syrup. It's where the real maple flavor is at...

Can't say as I know all the reasons why late season sap is darker, but it may have something to do with cooking time...it took almost the same amount of sap to produce both jars, so there was more water in the later stuff to be boiled off. Longer boil = longer time = darker color (think of carmelizing sugar when cooking).

There's another quart on the stove finishing right now, so we'll see how permanent this darker phase may be. The forecaster is calling for a foot of snow tomorrow - someone better tell the maples it ain't over yet!

5 comments:

Mama Pea said...

We've never tapped the maple trees ourselves but there are a few commercial outfits and many private individuals who do it in our area. We've gotten syrup from one that sells only light colored syrup (you're right, when questioned they say that's what the tourists prefer) but it tastes very "watery" to us without much flavor. The other outfit which is now our go-to favorite, sells the rich, dark brown syrup that tastes wonderful and maple-y We'll take the "B" any day!

Spinners End said...

We prefer the dark stuff at our house too! I think you are right- the longer the boiling time the darker the syrup. We collect sap and store it for awhile before we start boiling and boil a whole bunch at a time so ours always ends up fairly dark. It does seem to vary from batch to batch (last year we had three different boilings) and last year we collected sap a bit too long and the last batch had that sorta wierd funky taste (still good, just wouldn't give it away as gifts!). Our sap season in the UP of Michigan has only just begun in the last week.

melanie said...

We started with 2 trees at our old house (as a learning project for our daughter) and never looked back. I would kill for more maples on our lot. Next year I may go knocking on the neighbors...

The rule of thumb for "storing" sap is three days - after that, it begins to spoil. (Which may explain the weird taste!) If you boil it down part of the way to reduce the general volume, you can freeze the result and save it till you have more for a better boil...

Gayle said...

I've always been interested in the syrup making and have seen birch trees tapped in our area. The problem is it takes 100 gallons of sap to make one gallon of birch syrup, and I'm not sure I want to invest that kind of time for so little return. Might be a fun, one time experience though.

Michelle said...

Oooooh. Yum-yum-yum-yum.....