Author Topic: Desperate times may call for desperate measures - finding food  (Read 12617 times)

ilinda

  • Global Moderator
  • Prolific Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1962
  • Karma: +30/-0
Re: Desperate times may call for desperate measures - finding food
« Reply #45 on: January 28, 2016, 04:35:41 PM »
Today I tapped two maple trees and hope to be able to check the taps every day.  The first day of maple sap season is harder than the rest, because of having to lug a bunch of "stuff" around to the trees.

I use a large cloth shopping bag or two, and in that bag I have a small bow saw, one or more dried elderberry stems from year before, a rasp, drill with 1/2" drill bit, several CLEAN gallon vinegar jugs, or several large white, food-grade 5 gallon buckets, enough tubing to connect the "spile" to the collecting container (vinegar jug or bucket), and a few lengths of baling twine or something similar for optionally attaching the collecting container to tree or near tree, securely.

If you begin early enough in season, and tap a good enough tree, you'll get many gallons of sap, and will need 40-60 gallons of sap to boil down into one gallon of syrup.  But it's worth every minute of it.  If possible, I might post all of the above-listed items in a pic to give readers a better idea.

If you've never tapped a maple tree, it is best to have an expert show you, or study some books, as it is beyond the scope of this short article to teach maple syruping/sugaring.  One thing I think is important though is to, at the end of the season, plug the hole in the tree, to minimize risk of unwanted or undesirable living organisms getting into the tree.  Many people leave them open, but I look upon these trees as my friends and I would never drill a hole in a friend, then walk away as if nothing had happened.

And a BTW is that in a situation where you cannot "can" your end-product (maple syrup), you can continue the process a bit longer and end up with maple sugar which can be stored in a CLEAN cloth bag or glass jar, etc., but you may need to store in mouse- or rat-proof container. 

steedy

  • Global Moderator
  • Prolific Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
  • Karma: +13/-0
Re: Desperate times may call for desperate measures - finding food
« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2016, 04:43:05 PM »
I can't wait to start tapping maple trees?  It will have to be next year though.  Is it true that you have to boil your sap down outside?  I thought if I did it in small batches, I could boil it all on my stove. 

ilinda

  • Global Moderator
  • Prolific Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1962
  • Karma: +30/-0
Re: Desperate times may call for desperate measures - finding food
« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2016, 01:46:42 PM »
I can't wait to start tapping maple trees?  It will have to be next year though.  Is it true that you have to boil your sap down outside?  I thought if I did it in small batches, I could boil it all on my stove.
You can boil sap down to syrup indoors, but be prepared to have some barrier above the cooking pot to take on the vapors and everything moving upward in that boiling steam.  I've wondered if somehow hanging a large cookie sheet above the cooking pot, but slightly tilted, so that it drains down into a collecting vessel you have carefully placed to catch drippings.

If you don't protect your ceiling and walls, you might find some sticky or gooey stuff on them after cooking a lot of sap (approximately 40-60 gallons of sap to make about 1 gallong of syrup).  But the walls and ceiling can be cleaned.  Each case is different.

Most people DO cook down their sap outdoors until it's almost ready to seal in jars, and then they bring it indoors for the final concentration and canning, which is easily done on a cook top stove, as most of the volatiles are already gone.

I took a few pics today and will try to make an organized article complete with photos, to show the early stages.

Good luck with next year's sap-to-syrup.  You'll love it.  Hubby tells me my maple syrup has such maple flavor, and tht the stuff we buy is sweet but not overly "maple-y", and in fact, he wonders how much of what we have bought is really maple syrup at all.

steedy

  • Global Moderator
  • Prolific Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
  • Karma: +13/-0
Re: Desperate times may call for desperate measures - finding food
« Reply #48 on: January 30, 2016, 04:19:40 PM »
The syrup we buy at the store for our pancakes is not maple syrup at all.  It's maple flavored corn syrup.  That's why it's thick.  Pure maple syrup is thin.

ilinda

  • Global Moderator
  • Prolific Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1962
  • Karma: +30/-0
Re: Desperate times may call for desperate measures - finding food
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2016, 04:27:49 PM »
The syrup we buy at the store for our pancakes is not maple syrup at all.  It's maple flavored corn syrup.  That's why it's thick.  Pure maple syrup is thin.
Yes, when you buy commercially prepared maple syrup, it is rather thin.  But when you cook down your own maple sap, you are free to make it as thin or thick as you like.  I love it thicker.

Plus if you want another maple syrup treat, take an amount of maple sap, early in the season when it is still nearly the color of water, and cook it down slowly, very slowly.  It will continue to thicken until you have a syrup that is almost colorless!  The first time I did this it was sort of an accident.  I had left some sap on a wood stove overnight and the fire remained, but wasn't enough to cause heavy boiling of the sap.  The sap thickened and thickened until it was a thick syrup and nearly the color of water.

And the taste knocked your socks off!

ilinda

  • Global Moderator
  • Prolific Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1962
  • Karma: +30/-0
Re: Desperate times may call for desperate measures - finding food
« Reply #50 on: February 02, 2016, 04:23:04 PM »
Continuing on the theme of tapping maple trees for sap to be boiled into syrup.

Now for a few pictures.  The 5-gallon bucket is really better for collecting sap than the 1-gallon vinegar jug because of two reasons.  One is that during the peak flow, the gallon container will overflow before you can empty it, unless you check your taps several times a day.  That is all I had on the day I tapped, but since then, have replaced it with a 5-gallon bucket like the other one.

A second reason is that being lighter in weight, the vinegar jug is easier for the wind to blow around, and as it fills, it is easier to settle a bit so that the tubing does not match up perfectly with the top opening.

The third pic of the tools is what I take up into the woods, except for that oversize hand drill.  It is too large, but I included it just as a reminder that you will have to drill a 1/2" hole in the tree, and will need the 1/2" bit plus either an electric drill and bit, or rotary drill .

The little saw can be any type of cheap saw, as it is just for cutting off sections of elderberry stem for spiles.  And the yellow-handled tool is for reaming out the pithy center of the spile sections, although many farms have enough old fencing that a piece of broken fence wire, sticking out or up, can be used to ream out the pith.

The rasp is for tapering the end of the spile that enters the tree, for a snug fit.  There is nothing worse than a leaky tap in which the spile isn't in all the way, or it is too small for the hole.  The rasp can also be used to tap the spile deeper--tap--not hammer!

A bit of rope might be needed, depending on how the collecting vessel is arranged, or attached to tree or nearby fence, etc., etc.

Good luck.

Yowbarb

  • Administrator
  • Prolific Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30791
  • Karma: +25/-0
  • Reaching For Survival
Re: Desperate times may call for desperate measures - finding food
« Reply #51 on: February 02, 2016, 09:47:34 PM »
ilinda, this is awesome!
Thanks for sharing your knowledge,
Barb T.

Yowbarb

  • Administrator
  • Prolific Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30791
  • Karma: +25/-0
  • Reaching For Survival
Re: Desperate times may call for desperate measures - finding food
« Reply #52 on: March 21, 2016, 02:28:22 AM »
Just a couple videos about purslane.
...
Florida Wild Edible Purslane 3:38  619 views

video link: https://youtu.be/9ohh2CXjfQQ

Jeanette
Published on May 4, 2013
This wild edible is consumed all over the world, highly nutritious. Can be juiced, eaten raw, cooked or raw. Be careful when consuming wild edibles, make sure your identification is 100%. Purslane.
...
Eat The Weeds: Episode 91: Purslane  8:59   77,280 views

video link: https://youtu.be/8tw8DcGAGmo

Uploaded on Jul 11, 2009
http://www.eattheweeds.com/purslane-omega-3-fatty-weed/

Learn about wild food with Green Deane. In this video, we'll look at purslane, often said to be the most nutritious green found around the world. 135 of Green Deane's You Tubes are available on DVDs:
http://www.eattheweeds.com/media-page/eat-the-weeds-on-dvd/