If you live in a region where maple is abundant, creating homemade maple syrup is really simple. You have to boil the maple sap to approximately l/35th of its initial mass. Should you intend to retail what you have produced, there are some more steps to follow in order to achieve a consistent syrup concentration aside from straining it via a fine felt strainer. You would also need to grade the syrup, hot-pack them at temperatures of around 180°F. Several individuals do all these steps with syrup for household use, also. But they really do not need to.
The things needed for creating homemade maple syrup could be as simple as 2 or 3 spouts, a kettle and some huge tin cans. It can be as complex as an all-out sugarhouse having an evaporator, holding tank, finishing rig and so on up to twenty or thirty different bits of equipment. If you reach that point, you have an investment amounting to $10,000 or $20,000.
The very first thing you need for creating maple syrup is to be able to identify a sugar maple. There exist two other maples to differentiate a Sugar Maple from: one that you will discover in yards, and one that you will encounter in the woods. In yards, the other more common breed is the one imported from Europe known as the Norway maple. At first sight a Norway Maple and a Sugar Maple appear a great deal alike. Both have the familiar maple leaf, like the one that you see on the Canadian flag. The two are huge, bountiful trees. Only the leaf of the Norway looks as though it had been placed sideways through a clothes wringer; it is almost twice as broad as a sugar maple leaf, and a great deal larger altogether. On the bark, if you inspect closely, very fine, virtually diamond-shaped designs can be seen. Sugar maples do not have these marks.
Within the woods, the other more common breed is the red maple — also known as Swamp Maple and Soft Maple. During fall, it is really easy to tell apart one from a Sugar Maple — it is among of the first trees to change color, eventually transforming into a bright scarlet hue. A Sugar Maple would turn pink-yellow-orange many weeks later. In the summertime it is still pretty much easy to recognize them apart, since the borders of a sugar-maple leaf move in flowing curves, and the red maples have little saw-toothed leaves.
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