Sugaring 2013 – Maple Saturday
We were surprised this Saturday by my folks. Lucky for them we chose today to make maple peanuts, and finish out a batch of syrup.
The recipe for maple nuts is simple, and I have posted the recipe previously here. Basically, you heat 6 ounces of syrup to 240F and add it to some preheated nuts, stir until the syrup sugars, and the pour the sugared peanuts onto a cookie sheet to rest. Then wait 30 minutes until cool to eat, if you can wait that long!
With the maple nuts ready, I turned my attention to finishing our syrup. We had about two gallons of “almost syrup” that I had brought to about 50 on the Brix Scale and had placed in the fridge. To finish the “almost syrup”, I did two batches on our stove, boiling each batch until they reached at least 59 on the Brix scale when hot.
As you can see, the first batch of syrup was a little heavy at 62 Brix so I brought the second batch to exactly 59 Brix, so they would be a little heavier than they needed to be when blended together. I filtered all the syrup through several synthetic filters and one Orlon filter, and into a stainless steel bowl. I then put this bowl on top of my stainless steel pot that had 2” of water in it that I had brought to a boil while filtering the syrup. The idea here is to create a double boiler and bring the filtered syrup up to 185-190F so I can hot pack my syrup in glass bottles.
I decided to give the West Bend 30 cup coffee urn another shot at bottling the syrup this year. I already had an epic failure on the last batch I made, and I was determined to make this thing work, because bottling has been a pain.
While I was finishing the syrup, I put a couple inches of water in the coffee urn and turned it on. It took a while to go through the “brew cycle” and when it was done and in “warming mode” signaled by the little orange light glowing, I left it as is with the hot water in it. After I brought the filtered syrup up to 190F in the double boiler, I quickly had the wife empty the hot water in the coffee urn into the sink and I poured the syrup into the coffee urn. This was quite the scene and I am sure my parents enjoyed watching the show! Now with hot syrup in the urn, we could bottle fast and easy from the urn’s spigot. I did have to teach Wen how to pour the syrup. Apparently, someone had never poured a beer from a tap before, so her first bottle of syrup was a little bubbly to say the least!
The coffee urn is definitely a huge time saver when bottling! We went through 22 glass bottles and 2 mini plastic bottles super fast. For anyone trying to bottle with a coffee urn – when you get within a couple inches of the bottom you need to unplug the coffee urn so you don’t burn out the element before you bottle your last couple of bottles.
I love seeing the finished product jarred like this. Kudos to Wen for getting this awesome shot. After everything cooled down, the syrup graded out as Medium Amber! Fun times!
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