Maple sap is really amazing stuff. It is one of the only natural sources of truly pure drinking water. With a sugar content of between 2% and 3%, the sap is very useful in at least three different ways.
First, we found that sap is an excellent drink just strait from the tree. We call it “sweet-water”. Bringing it in from outside, we strained out any dirt or bark, stuck it in the refrigerator, and served it for the next meal. It is not only cool and refreshing but healthy and sweet!
A second way we used it was for cooking. We just boiled 1 gallon of sap down to two quarts to make “sap-concentrate”. The sugar content is much higher so it is too sweet for drinking but perfect for replacing the water when cooking oatmeal or wheat-berries. No other sweetener like honey or brown-sugar is needed.
Then we made real maple syrup! Using three large pans on the stove, we kept the fire on all day, boiling down 2 gallons of sap per hour. By the end of the day, we had boiled down about 15 gallons of sap to 2 quarts of syrup. We did this on several different days and canned a total of two gallons of syrup. It took a lot of patience and diligence but with everyone tapping in to help and volunteering to watch the boiling sap for awhile, we can look forward to enjoying this sweet delicacy for months to come!