Monday, March 22, 2021

We made syrup!

We have plenty of maple trees on the property but we’ve never tried to make maple syrup before. Well, apparently this was the year to give it a go!

The main reason we decided to try it was that Chris scored both a food grade barrel and a whole bunch of bricks. The barrel would let us accumulate the sap (we only had 5 sap taps/buckets and we had to borrow those) and the bricks would provide material for a quick and dirty wood-fired evaporator. 

The barrel and the evaporator 

We had good collecting weather for about a week and managed to accumulate about 22 gallons of sap. 

Beginning the boil

The weather was perfect: sunny, warmish, and barely breezy. I even brought Cooper’s bed outside so she could enjoy the sunshine with us.

You’ll note there is no dog...

We boiled outside for nine hours the first day, five hours the second, and three the third.

Turning golden
It did get warmer as the day progressed
Eventually she joined us

The chickens were loving being able to roam around at last. They’ve been confined to their coop and run because they hate to walk on the snow. The nice weather means they finally have a grass path to freedom.

Now we’re getting closer
Once enough had evaporated we moved into the house to finish it off. 
It took about 2.5 hours to turn into syrup 

A good production run
We ended up with a generous two quarts. That was our goal and I can’t believe we actually hit it! It’s not like we were carefully measuring anything. But I’d estimate we collected 22 gallons of sap so we at least have a target for next year.
I partially filled the jars because I’m going to freeze them. Well, some of them. We’ll be dipping into the first jar tonight. Waffles for dinner!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Putting up beans

I spent a chunk of Saturday pressure canning dried beans.

I had six bags, each containing a pound of beans. I did three bags of pinto, two of black, and one navy. It was quite colorful.

Soaking the navy and black beans

Lots of pinto beans

After soaking them overnight I boiled the beans for 30 minutes. That gave me time to get my canner and supplies ready.

No photos of the filling process as I was wicked busy filling jars, getting them sealed, and loading the canner. 
Steadily streaming steam

The beans were processed for 75 minutes. I needed to stay in the kitchen to keep a close eye on the pressure gauge so I had time to make pizza dough and banana bread too. Time management for the win!

Gorgeous beans
I yielded 20 pints plus enough for a side dish from those six bags. Not bad.