I still go by the frogs...
April 25, 2019 6:47 AM   Subscribe

 
But it's only when it's been boiled down into syrup that you know it's gone buddy.
Welp, we can shut down the Internets for Thursday, because no better sentence will be wrote today.
posted by Etrigan at 6:54 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


That's how I know when to stop collecting from my one tree. The leaves bud out. And that does happen about the same time the peepers start their orgies.
posted by terrapin at 7:01 AM on April 25


A friend of ours made some maple syrup for the first time this year. His family owns a little land up in New Hampshire, and I went up there with him a couple months ago to help him tap trees. (First lesson learned - identify the trees you want to tap before they lose all their leaves. We're pretty sure we got a batch of oak sap by mistake.)

He brought back maybe 50 gallons of sap and reduced them in various ways. (Second lesson learned - it takes a ton of propane to drive off all the water in the sap. Cutting down some dead trees on the property and burning those is probably more efficient.) He kept good records of which trees went in to which batches and how those were processed, so we had a little syrup tasting a few weeks ago. Turns out that maple syrup can have a really interesting variety of flavor! I'll have to let him know about the buddy syrup - I wonder if there's any decent use for it or if it's just too nasty to eat at all.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:03 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


How can you write an article about Canadian maple syrup producers and not mention that Canada has a strategic maple syrup reserve?
posted by xedrik at 7:14 AM on April 25 [7 favorites]


How can you write an article about Canadian maple syrup producers and not mention that Canada has a strategic maple syrup reserve?

It's the CBC. Their audience knows about the International Strategic Reserve (no joke, that's the official name). They know in their very souls.
posted by Etrigan at 7:17 AM on April 25 [18 favorites]


If you’re a small time maker running it a bucket at a time, instead of a bigger producer with tubing form tree to boiler, you KNOW when the season is over - it’s when the sap turns yellowish and sour, then you dump it and are done.

I didn’t make any syrup this season. My back is all jacked up and I didn’t want to carry buckets. That, and the fact that I still have 3.5 liters of mostly-finished syrup in the fridge from last year, and I still haven’t gotten around to doing the final finishing boil. I expect it will end up as about 2 liters, give or take, when done. Started as about 100 or more liters of raw sap. Not bad, considering I tapped a total of one tree.

And yes, boiling over wood is much more efficient I think than propane (or at least cheaper, if you can get free wood), especially if you don’t have a dedicated evaporator (like my dad has) and are doing it in a big pot (like I am). Downside is that wood takes more monitoring, is messier (STILL scrubbing carbon off the pan from the one year I used a wood fire!) and you can’t rely on consistent heat levels, so it can be more prone to boil over.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:31 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Canada has a strategic maple syrup reserve.

It's like how I've argued that California should have a strategic avocado reserve... as the popularity of those green goodies have boomed, the majority of avocados are now imported from Mexico, but we need to protect ourselves from things like Trump shutting down the border. I live near some real avocado groves and there was a big news story recently about a team of thieves sneaking in at night and stealing a large quantity. Grand Theft Avocado (which I've argued a new version of the game should be).
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:09 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


That's how I know when to stop collecting from my one tree. The leaves bud out.

Thank-you for answering one important question that the journalist overlooked.
posted by Flashman at 8:33 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Peepers just started around here. I guess they have the same temperature considerations for starting that syrup has for stopping.

I'm into Grade B. I guess that's just a step from buddy.
posted by MtDewd at 8:55 AM on April 25


If you rub dish soap on the outside of a pot BEFORE it goes on the fire it's really easy to just wipe off all the soot at the end.
posted by raccoon409 at 9:14 AM on April 25 [4 favorites]


I'm into Grade B. I guess that's just a step from buddy.

As you can see from this chart, there is no Grade B anymore; all syrup except "Processing" is "Grade A" (making the term meaningless), and all information is contained in what comes after that. That being said, Buddy is surely even below Commercial/Processing Grade.
posted by timdiggerm at 9:26 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Grand Theft Avocado

but who will get murdered all willy-nilly? provocatively-dressed commodities traders?
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:27 AM on April 25


The best part of the article was the last photo with a picture of the baby in a syrup bucket. It never gets old.
posted by peeedro at 11:28 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]



How can you write an article about Canadian maple syrup producers and not mention that Canada has a strategic maple syrup reserve?


Or the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist?
posted by nubs at 11:41 AM on April 25


(no joke, that's the official name).

I'm of the strong opinion it should be renamed la grande cabane.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:44 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


There are at least three previous threads about the theft of the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve, so I figured that ground was well covered in sticky, sticky maple goodness.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:37 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


QFT: 'Maple syrup keeps you young. They say sugar makers never die, they just evaporate.'

And yes, boiling over wood is much more efficient I think than propane (or at least cheaper, if you can get free wood)

I'm told, on good authority, that some of the Old Order Mennonites in this area use old tires to keep the fires going.

It'll be interesting if they can unravel the secrets of buddy sap though its name tells you what you need to know - sap from when the tree starts to bud (not just because of the penchant of Canadians to use the term buddy). That's called the "bud run" or sometimes the "frog run" (because of the peepers). What I'd like to see more of is the value of looking at syrup via terroir. There can be noticeable differences between producers and it'd be interesting if that was a bit more explored.

My ideal syrup? Grade A Very Dark / Processing Grade (formerly Canada No. 3 Dark) maple syrup or nothing... It needs to be thick as molasses and I need to feel a burn in my throat, just shy of the buddy sap. Ideally harvested from trees grown in the minerally / acidic soil of Northern Ontario boiled down in a large kettle over a wood fire. Plaid & toques must be worn, filterless Players cigarettes and/or Caribou are optional while the fires are being tended. Full rosaries or at least one Je Vous Salue Marie can't hurt.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:20 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


So, naive question: boiling away 98% of the water is tremendously energy-intensive, the large producers must be well incentivized to find a better way, and I could imagine all sorts of tricks we could try with modern technology: do a first pass with reverse osmosis, preheat the incoming sap with a countercurrent heat exchanger, hold the sap under vacuum to reduce the boiling point. What does a modern maple syrup factory look like?
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 11:47 AM on April 28 [1 favorite]


meaty shoe puppet, here's a site that touches on everything you mentioned except vacuum boiling. High temps are necessary for color and flavor development from caramelization and Maillard reactions that give maple syrup its characteristic punch. Pulling a vacuum to lower the evaporation temperature would would yield a colorless syrup lacking in flavor because the nonenzymatic browning reactions occur at higher temps.
posted by peeedro at 12:57 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I'm simultaneously gratified that I got that close on two seconds of wild guessing, and kind of disappointed that the state of the art is that close to what I got on two seconds of wild guessing.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 5:28 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


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