Thursday, 5 May 2016

Maple tapping. Priceless.

This morning, I watched a discussion on one of my favourite (knitting) podcasts about the cost-effectiveness of growing your own vegetables. This inspired me to financially evaluate my first foray into maple tree tapping this winter.
Step 1: Autumn. Incredibly enthusiastic about the process. Crocheted maple leaves to tie around our two trees while they still had leaves, as once those drop I won’t have a clue which is which and run the risk of birch-syrup or somesuch. Cost: negligible. Scraps of red acrylic yarn from deep deep stash.
Maple Tree markers

Step 2. Wait. This past winter was relatively short for Quebec, however 5-6 months between stages of a project does rather put a dampener on the enthusiasm!
Forget about project. On drive to town in late March, notice buckets on trees. Passion for project is reignited. Go on epic-hobbit-style-quest round Ottawa’s hardware stores to find the last remaining sap spiles and buckets in the city. Notice there are now displays of BBQ equipment and sunloungers in the stores. Yup. Left this a little late!
Cost: 2 x buckets, lids and spiles = $24. Gas cost: I dread to think! Damage to pride at screwing this up: negligible, pride went missing way back in the late 90s. I’m happier without it.

Step 3 Drill hole in tree (with Mason drill bit because you forgot to buy wood-bits in the many hardware stores you visited, and you aren’t going back.) Tap in spile, hang bucket. Wait.
action stations.jpg

Step 4 After a week we collected 16oz of sap. The next stage is to boil it down, the ratio of sap to syrup is 40:1. Not enough to share with friends, but hopefully a pancakes worth. Boil sap down, after half an hour bladder becomes unignorable, nip to bathroom. The unwatched pot boils. Syrup stage bypassed and we have maple toffee. 1 teaspoon of maple toffee.
Cost: One tub of local artisan vanilla ice-cream to serve with toffee = $9.
maple treats.jpg
1 teaspoon of maple toffee = $33.
Today’s market price for gold? 1 gram = $52.
Best maple toffee I ever tasted!
Hours of entertainment from that $33 investment - countless! Same again next year!

(This post started as a forum post responding to the aforementioned conversation. I copied and pasted it here as I haven't felt the urge to write in so long, I thought I would preserve my ramblings. )

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