Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sugarbushing in the City

This weekend, Slow Food BU joined the Urban Homesteaders' League for Sugarbush in the City: A Walk and Talk with Meg Rotzel. Meg took us through her neighborhood in Jamaica Plain, showing us how to identify Sugar Maples.

Key traits to look for when identifying a Sugar Maple:
shaggy, grey bark, a dome crown shape, and three-pronged winter buds

We then learned about the sugaring process, or boiling down the sap into maple sugar. Meg recommended doing this outside over a turkey frier, although it can be done indoors as well (especially if you have a wood stove). Did you know that it takes 40 gallons of Maple sap to produce just 1 gallon of syrup?! The sap is boiled at 119 degrees fahrenheit until most of the water is boiled off, at which point it is moved to a finishing pot and heated to 218 degrees fahrenheit. It is then filtered into containers of your choice (Meg uses jam jars).

Grades A, B, and Meg's homemade syrup on
waffles from Centre St. YUMM...

The day ended with delicious waffles at the Centre St. Cafe where we got to taste test Meg's syrup with other A and B grades. I think it is fair to say that Meg's home batch came out on top!

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