Before my trail companions and I could boil down the sugar maple sap, I first had to rebuild our homemade evaporator. I was able to leave the foundation untouched, but was forced to replace the upper section due to broken and split pieces. We have no need for expensive tools for such a small operation, and so a cement-block fire pit with two campfire cooking grills and old restaurant pans are all we require to properly turn sap to syrup.
Today, we took our thirty gallons of stored tree food out of the snowbank and carried the buckets to our evaporator. After building up a suitable blaze, we began to fill the pans while being careful to leave enough room to prevent a boil-over– this would be bad for the fire, and the pancakes. We let the watery syrup steam until it became thicker and had higher concentrations of sugar. While waiting for each batch to finish, my trail companions and I warmed up by enjoying glasses of the hot treat.
It took most of the day to finish off the outside work for our entire supply. Bringing the unfiltered product inside, we poured it through a cheese cloth and finished the boiling process on the more controlled gas stove top before sealing it off in jars. I have always enjoyed my time spent outside near a campfire, but I do think it is even nicer when there is sweet-smelling syrup being made over it.