Sunday, March 11, 2012

Trusted Tools

As I was finishing what looks to be the last batch of maple syrup for this season, I reflected on the tried and true tools that have been here season in and season out. Our big pan has seen eight seasons. I picked it up after our first season when my bath tube sized Le Crueset pan could not hold the volume for the task. Though the LC is the pan of choice to finish the syrup, see photo. The hydrometer and cup have been here probably 7 seasons. Now there is no guess work in determining the syrup density. Next to the pans it is the most expensive piece of equipment and highly guarded against breaking. The wooden spoon with the burn mark on the handle is perfect for tasting and for measuring boiling sap depth. A solid one piece of wood spoon that stands up to the steamy conditions in the shack. Having a previous life in my kitchen it must be 15 years old, and still going strong. The ladle and canning funnel are standard kitchen issue. Nothing fancy but highly functional and would be sorely missed.

The new tool on the block is the thermometer. For probably 6 years I've gone without. Having difficulty finding one that seems to work I would guess when the syrup was ready to be tested with the hydrometer. Sometimes it would get a little too thick. But what's thick syrup among friends?

The boil is done. The syrup, three quarters of a gallon, brings the seasonal total to 2.75 gallons.

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