The second try this week worked better. We borrowed an old Coleman camp stove, bought a digital cooking thermometer, let the boiling run for a longer day on multiple burners, and strained the syrup. With these four improvements, we got about five nice jars of amber syrup, enough for one jar each for two neighbor families who contributed sap from their trees, two jars for relatives, and one for ourselves.
On the environmental economics, maple syrup from a large operation in Quebec surely uses fewer resources than the same amount of maple syrup from our backyard.
But food is about community. You wouldn't believe the enthusiasm of the neighbor kids who brought over sap from their trees. Many more kids came by just to look. Even the grownups got caught up in the operation.
The New York Times had a nice article on the maple sugaring scene.
See an earlier post for a description of the first try. We will give this one more go today, with the goals of increasing the quantity still one more notch and letting the boiling temperature reach about a half degree higher for slightly thicker syrup.