How to Make Your Own Maple Syrup – Part 2: Boiling Down the Sap

How to make your own homemade maple syrup - Part 2: boiling down the sap into syrup

If you have a few backyard maple trees and you live in a climate where it’s below freezing at night and above freezing during the day time, then it’s really quite simple to make your own maple syrup and boil down the sap into delicious syrup that you can drizzle over pancakes or use in cooking and baking. 

In my last post I talked about all of the things involved in preparing for sugaring off, including: identifying trees, choosing the right time and place to tap the trees, drilling the hole, and setting up the taps and collection containers for the sap. If you haven’t read that post already, you can find it here: How to Make Homemade Maple Syrup – Part 1: Tapping Your Trees.

Today, we’ll talk about the rest of the steps we need to take in order to be able to get from watery sap to sweet maple syrup. 

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How to Make Homemade Maple Syrup: Tapping Your Maple Trees

How to make homemade maple syrup: tapping your maple trees

There are some aspects of homesteading that are definitely more challenging for those of us who live in suburban areas with small yards, but if you have maple trees in your backyard and you have the right climate, then learning how to make homemade maple syrup is a simple process that’s easy for a suburban homesteader to do. 

Making your own homemade maple syrup is a great way to know that your syrup is pure and organic, and it’s also a way that you can save some money since the supplies you need are usually not very expensive if you’re tapping just a few trees and producing syrup on a small scale. And since good quality maple syrup can be pretty expensive, it can be economical to make some of your own.

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Why Your Wellness Resolutions Might Be Setting You Up for Failure This Year

Why your wellness resolutions might be setting you up for failure this year.

Whether you make wellness resolutions each year or whether you’ve given up on the idea of New Year’s resolutions altogether, resolutions are something we can’t avoid hearing about everywhere we go this time of year. Between all of the TV commercials for weight loss programs and gym memberships and all of the other advertisements we see on social media, websites, etc. the theme is absolutely everywhere! 

And everyone jokes about the fact that the majority of people will just give up on their wellness resolutions within a week or two anyways, so why bother even trying? But an even bigger question is: why is it that so many people fail to keep their resolutions each year? What is really the reason why it is so incredibly hard for the majority of people to stick to their New Year’s resolutions for wellness and better health? 

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Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cookie Recipe from 1868

These old-fashioned gingerbread cookies have a soft texture and a blend of warm spices and rich molasses.

Gingerbread is one of the most classic old-fashioned desserts, and it’s been around in some form or another for centuries. This old-fashioned gingerbread cookie recipe dates from the 1860s, and it has a soft texture and a nice blend of molasses and spice flavors. 

For this recipe, I adapted two 19th century gingerbread recipes. The main recipe is from the 1868 edition of Mrs. Winslow’s Domestic Receipt Book. (Which was a recipe pamphlet designed to advertise Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for babies – a syrup that contained morphine as it’s main ingedient!) 

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How to Store Apples to Last for the Winter

How to store apples properly so they last for the winter months.

One of the many reasons why apples were such a popular fruit in previous centuries is the fact that they are one of the few fruits that will keep well in long term storage. Unlike berries that will only keep for a few days if you don’t dry them or turn them into jams and jellies, apples that are stored properly can often last for several weeks or even months. This is one of the reasons why knowing how to store apples for the winter months was such an important skill for our ancestors who needed to have enough food in storage to last them until spring. 

For those of us living in modern times, though, it’s still a very helpful thing to know even if we aren’t dependent on our harvest to see us through the winter. Knowing how to store apples to last through the winter months allows us to enjoy having fresh apples for eating and for baking with for as long as we possibly can (because you can only make so many batches of applesauce with your fresh-picked apples, and it’s so nice to be able to enjoy eating fresh apples at Christmas time and beyond!)

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Heirloom Apple Crisp Recipe

This heirloom apple crisp recipe is the perfect blend of fresh apples and autumn spices.

One of my favorite things to make each fall is apple crisp, and this year I was especially excited to make an heirloom apple crisp to celebrate the autumn season.

I’ve decided to call this recipe an heirloom apple crisp recipe for a couple of reasons. First, because it’s a recipe that my grandmother, mother, and I have all used, so it’s an heirloom in the sense of being a recipe that has been in my family for a couple of generations now. And the second reason is because this year I used all heirloom varieties of apples in my crisp. 

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