Wednesday, April 9, 2014

From Sap to Syrup Part II {Homestead Learning}

We collected the sap from the walnut tree today!  I posted the other day about our mission to learn all we can about being self-sufficient right where we are planted currently. 

I decided to strain it as we poured it into the pan.  We got 5 gallons of sap from our walnut tree.  So once strained we place it onto the stove to start the boiling process.  This takes a long time!  Funny thing happened to us this morning.  We had intended on boiling this outside on our grill.  It has a nice side burner.  When we attempted to light the grill the match fell down through and started the propane tank on fire!!  Goodness, thankfully my husband and son were able to quickly put the fire out.  So we moved the operation inside.

This has now been boiling for over an hour.  It's starting to turn colors.  The white foam at the top needs to be skimmed off.  It's a lot like the foam that forms at the top in jam and jelly making.  So just let this boil away.  I put the sap into 2 different pans.  One was my nice black oval roaster....notice the past tense form of the word was!  It is no longer with me.  I stepped outside to chat with my son who was working on another project for me.  When I turned around I saw smoke coming out of the window.  YIKES!  So my word of advice is watch closely.  Once it starts to boil down it happens very quickly!  After about 5 hours I was able to transfer the sap into a smaller pan.

It is really amazing to me that THIS is 5 gallons of sap.  Well minus the almost 1/2 gallon I let burn up.  Hey it's all a learning experience.  So in one day we learned about fire, boiling points and water content.  Haha!! You want the sap to boil until it reaches approximately 220 degrees.  You can play around with it to get it to your liking. 

Now its time to pour into a jar.  I use double layered cheese cloth to strain the syrup once again.  This will assure you that all the grit is taken out of the syrup.  Just let it hang out there for a few minutes and drip into a jar.

Still hanging out dripping away.  You know the saying, "Good things come to those who wait".  So I waited patiently. 

All-in-all this was a great experience.  It is a lot of work!!  But to me this is so rewarding I don't even think about the time it took to get from step one to final product.  I cannot wait to try this on a warm biscuit or waffle.  It has a nice nutty flavor.  The experience was well worth the work.  Our children learned valuable lessons through out this process.  It was a fun family activity on using things that God has provided us.


Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary said...

Oops, sorry for deleting that first comment, I'd forgotten to include something. Oh wow! It's never a good idea to boil down sap to syrup indoors, sugar can ignite and cause a house fire. I'm so glad your son and husband were able to get that fire extinguished and weren't harmed.

So what are your plans for the walnut syrup? I look forward to hearing how it tastes.

Jen said...


Thank you for your comment. Yes I'm aware of the ignition point for sugar. We are a family of fire fighters. I kept a close eye on the temperature of the sap as it boiled. As a safety precaution we had extinguishers handy.

The fire I was referring to was outside on our grill. As with anything you read on the internet you must use extreme caution when trying to recreate the recipe.

Have a blessed evening.

Jen said...

Oh and to answer your question...

We are going to use the syrup on pancakes or waffles or biscuits or... well you get the picture.

Farmlife Chick said...

Looks great! I've never heard of anyone having syrup igniting? It barely sits above the boling point. Interesting. Thanks for the post!

Mary said...

I'm sorry, I'd posted my comment while I had several distractions.. family pulling me in two different directions at the same time. I knew the fire happened while using your grill outdoors. Years ago, when my daughter was little, we watched a story on one of those local magazine type programs on a farmer in, either Rhode Island or Connecticut who had started tapping his maples and ran a small syrup making operation. He described how he'd had a kitchen fire, as initially they were boiling the sap down in the kitchen. I remembered that story when I first read about your plan to boil the sap on your grill. When I sat down earlier to go online, I was so startled, and in my rush I rattled off a disjointed comment.

Jen said...


No need to be sorry. I am very thankful for your concern. I had never heard of sap igniting before. Unless you let your liquid evaporate. Then you can start a fire. But it is now in the back of my mind for the future. I treasure each and everyone of my readers and their comments. Thank you again.

Trust me I know all about the distractions of life. Have a blessed day.

Mary said...

I've had maple syrup on my mind all week now. And as a result I picked some up, along with some vanilla ice cream. I plan on warming the syrup slightly, adding in some walnuts and using that to top the ice cream for dessert for the family tonight.

Jen said...

OH Mary that sounds delicious. I have walnuts we got from our tree as well. I may just have to do this.

Have a blessed weekend.