We had no idea how long we were supposed to boil the sap for. So we boiled it pretty hard for the first couple of hours, and then slow boiled it for 3 1/2 days. We would boil it during the day and shut it off at night.
The syrup came out looking so dark it was almost black! Yikes. We wondered if we had ruined the syrup. It smelled like burnt maple candy when we first took it out of the pan and brought it into the house.
I put all the syrup into large mason jars and stuck them in the fridge, hoping that like with honey, all the sediment/odd bits would rise to the top of the jar so they could be filtered out later.
Apparently refrigerating the syrup got rid of that burnt candy smell, because when I took it out of the fridge and carefully sniffed it, I could only smell a hint of maple syrup-ness; nothing else.
This afternoon I strained our black syrup through a double batch of cheesecloth.
Then I carefully stuck a finger in a bit of the strained syrup I had put aside in a small bowl.
Would it be gross? Did I kill it? Would it kill me?
Wow, this is absolutely the best-tasting, most fabulous maple syrup I have EVER tasted! I am super happy with how the flavour turned out!
I will be keeping this first batch. I put together a giant jar for my landlord to try when he gets back from vacation, and the other giant jar will be for us to have with our blueberry pancakes. 🙂
I asked Google, and I found a forum of folks from the Maine area that were all into making their own maple syrup. One guy had super dark syrup like I did (he described it as resembling driveway sealer….lol) and one of the old-timers explained that if you store your sap for several days (which we did) and then boil it for longer than 24 hours (guilty as charged) you will end up with very dark syrup.
Our next batch is boiling now, and will be ready by 2 pm tomorrow. I will let you all know how this one turns out.