Did you know that it take on average 70 gallons of maple sap to get 1 gallon of maple sugar?
How does it work?
The excess water is boiled from the sap. It usually takes about 10 gallons of sap to make one quart of syrup. Most maple syrup is made using reverse osmosis. There is an average amount of 2% sugar content in the sap. The reverse osmosis system is considered the brains of the operation. The pipes that feed the sap from the trees through the reverse osmosis process and then into these tanks uses a barometric pressure system. It creates a negative pressure which doesn't suck the sap out from the trees, but rather helps it along. After the reverse osmosis process and the sugar water is in the holding tanks, it is them fed into the evaporator. Evaporators can use oil for fuel or burn wood. It is in the evaporator that the boiling happens. The sap is boiled to reach a certain density and develops the consistency of syrup. The evaporator measures the boiling point and the temperature must be 7 degrees over the boiling point of water. The syrup is pushed into the end of the evaporator into a serpentine tank into the finishing pan. At this stage, the syrup is the right consistency, but you will still have some impurities. The sap is fed directly from the trees, so there are leaves, pieces of bark, etc. The syrup has been boiled, so it is safe to consume at this stage, but you don't have that nice clear syrup that people are used to, and that's what you want. The syrup is filtered through ten plates using high pressure from an air pressure pump that forces the syrup through tiny holes that block any remaining impurities. These minute holes allow only concentrated syrup to pass through and the end result is clear maple syrup. The light maple syrup is produced at the beginning of the season. It has a lighter, more buttery taste to it. The darker maple syrup is produced towards the end of the season and it has a more robust, richer flavor. Both are delicious! It is just a matter of personal preference to which you might prefer!
Where can you go for some local maple syrup?
NYS Maple Weekends
March 17-18 & 24 -25
During Maple Weekend maple farms across New York State invite visitors to their “sugar houses” to experience firsthand how pure, mouth-watering maple syrup and other related products are made. Visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy fun, family-friendly activities, taste New York’s freshest syrup and purchase maple products. You can boil the maple syrup even further to make maple cream, maple sugar, and maple candy!
Share your Cortland County adventures with us for a chance to be featured! Tag @experiencecortland and use hashtag #experiencecortland.