Chronicles of a Sap Queen: Part Three

March 17, 2009 at 11:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

By: Melissa (Winter fellow ’09, Fall ’08)


I sat by the fire for 3 days; fueling the fire, and adding more sap when needed. When I was tired at the end of the day I filled cold sap to the top and let the fire put itself out, and came back in the morning to do the same thing over again. This was by far my favorite part of being sap queen. I couldn’t wait to sit by the fire again and to see how much sap I could boil. The smell of burning wood lingered with me, making it hard to think about anything but boiling sap.

By the end of day 3, we had gone through almost 40 gallons of sap, and after a calm 3 days of sitting and waiting, Shamu immediately snapped me back to attention. “It has another hour or 2,” he said “Then, it has to be taken off, or else it will burn.”

I told him not to worry about it, and that everything was going to be fine. An hour later he came back. “We have to take it off now. It’s about to burn.”

I jumped up, feeling as though I just woke up. I scrambled for gloves to help Shamu but he had already taken it off himself. We both looked at it. It was a glistening golden brown, and then we tasted it. It was perfect, and we were at a loss for words as we absorbed the warm sweetness, a sweetness that was unlike anything I had ever tasted.

We weren’t done yet. The next step was to take the remaining sap and to boil it in a kitchen so we can control the temperature in order to prevent burning.

“It is so close,” he kept saying.

Shamu went back to his office, and the rest of the family came to my relief. I needed them there get me through the last part of the process. This was a very important step that could easily go wrong if not careful. Off to the Picklelarium we went with our remaining sap in hand and did not hesitate to start once we got there. We poured the rest of the sap into a pot on the stove and kept a close eye on it. Jamie kept telling me that when I see little white bubbles, I need to take the pot off the burner immediately or else it will overflow and ruin the stove. My eyes did not leave the pot. Jamie could tell that I was nervous and kept telling me everything would be okay, but everything around me was muffled and my attention stayed on the sap; waiting for the moment it would be officially syrup.

The white bubbles came, and I lifted the pot and put it on the next burner. We did it. We made a gallon of maple syrup.



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  1. Yay! One gallon down. Looking forward to the next! How many more do you think you’ll produce?

  2. You go, girl!

  3. Dear Melissa,
    Mazel Tov! You truly deserve congratulations on not burning that first batch. And for spending 3 days. I can’t wait to get a small taste of that smokiest of maple syrups.
    Keep it up, and keep watching that last hour. Oy – I have some good and some very bad memories from syrup-making.

  4. […] Jewish, organic farm. Share our pain as the cabbage in the greenhouse gets eaten, and our joy as steam from boiling maple sap turns into sweet sweet syrup once again. And join us, as we spring into […]

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