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  • OT syrup making

    It was almost a perfectly wasted day but how sweet it was. Didn't take pictures of the beginning or the end as I am part of the labor force. How many can you identify.
    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 5 photos.
    Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

  • #2
    What kind of syrup?

    My dad used to make maple syrup in the spring.

    Boy what a process that was.
    Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

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    • #3
      Cane syrup. I would rather have maple but that's probably because I've never saw it made except on YouTube.
      Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

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      • fitzski
        fitzski commented
        Editing a comment
        Maple syrup just needs to be boiled, skimmed and strained.

        Overall, it's a fairly simple process. Just a lot of time stoking the fire.

        My dad used to run the fire all weekend while the sap was running. Then my Mom would finish the syrup on the stove to get the right color. And then can the syrup of course.

        Do you grind the cane before boiling?

    • #4
      I lived in CT for 8 months.. there was nothing to do except make maple syrup lol. I worked from h k me in my sugar house I made evaporating sap all day while working on the laptop. I loved the smell of the maple steam! Awesome to see it with Cane syrup too.
      2021: The year of figs and a new love of Citrus thanks to http://www.madisoncitrusnursery.com

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      • GregMartin
        GregMartin commented
        Editing a comment
        Those vanilla tones in the maple sap do smell heavenly. I'm planning to try the freeze method to eliminate most of the boiling this year.

      • LouNeo
        LouNeo commented
        Editing a comment
        Theres a few methods that make it easier, freezing, reverse osmosis, etc. I quite honestly just built a huge arch, had a 6x4 ft custom stainless pain that was 10" deep and had a pre warmer on the back of it to warm the sap before it went into the main evaporator. I boiled for 6-8 hours a day We had 80 trees tapped on lines to run to big bins. It was such a pain in the butt. Like you said though, the smell was amazing. I miss it even though it was a lot of work! Most people dont realize you have to boil ~50 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup depending on the trees you have tapped.

    • #5
      How cool!
      Zone 7a in Virginia

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      • #6
        Looks really great Hershell!
        Greg, Maine, zone 5. Wish List: Green Michurinska

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        • #7
          Looks good. That is quite an art to making cane syrup.
          Jennings, Southwest Louisiana, Zone 9a

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          • Hershell
            Hershell commented
            Editing a comment
            Art didn't make it to help today. We're just trying our best and enjoying the time and sticky fruits of our labor. It is almost a lost art with the young people so we're just trying to keep it going.

        • #8
          Yes, we put the cane through a mill to squeeze the juice out. The kettle is a 60 gallon kettle and it yields about 5 gallons of syrup. No one is willing to name any of the help.
          Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

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          • fitzski
            fitzski commented
            Editing a comment
            I name them Joe, Bob and Righty.

          • Posturedoc
            Posturedoc commented
            Editing a comment
            I'll take a stab, Hershell. I'll lay money on one of those fine older gentlemen being the elusive Wills. Though he has spammed the internets and my email in box with photos of practically all of his body parts, I have yet to see a head shot. Why he's afraid of showing his mug when all else has been revealed is a mystery to me.

          • Hershell
            Hershell commented
            Editing a comment
            You are correct. The blue arm on the left is Sir Wills, the young gentleman on the rt it dwillnet. Daniel and then Paul. Wills is very camera shy

        • #9
          We had 2 maple trees in the yard when my kids were young, and we tapped the trees and made syrup and candy on the kitchen stove as a lesson for them. We would only get a quart at most of syrup every year, but it was worth it for the fun with the kids. Except the time when we lost track of the process and it boiled too long and burned in the pan and the fire alarm was set off and the fire trucks arrived within seconds...I guess looking back on it that was kind of amusing and embarrassing at the same time.
          Ed
          SW PA zone 6a

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          • LouNeo
            LouNeo commented
            Editing a comment
            It goes from Syrup -> Candy -> Smoke Alarms very quickly

        • #10
          A few more pictures from today


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          Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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          • #11
            Brings back memories of blistered hands from cane strippin in the field with a wooden sword. Nobody does it here any more.

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            • #12
              Cool, guys!
              Just curious , what do you do with cane syrup in that quantity?
              USDA z 10a, SoCal. WL: Raspberry Tart, Boysenberry Blush

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              • Charlie
                Charlie commented
                Editing a comment
                Back when, there was only one cane press in the county and people would bring their cane on trailers to be squeezed and made into syrup. There was a gravity line running from the press directly to the cook-down shed that had a fire pit underneath. One fire tender and four scrapers pushed and pulled it through a series of baffles coming in and it funneled off the end into jars where one person capped and stacked. When a run was finished, the cane owner got half the jars and the press owner half. It was sold in the mom & pop stores. The squeezed cane was fed to the press owners cattle. I was a young teen at the time and this was income to strip the cane in the press owner's fields, cut it, stack on trailer and unload to the press feeder. Quite the operation.

              • Hershell
                Hershell commented
                Editing a comment
                It's just a hobby. We give it away.

              • LouNeo
                LouNeo commented
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                Charlie, I love hearing stories like that, thanks for sharing it! Hershell, sounds like a lot of fun and like a lot of people got sweet Christmas presents!

            • #13
              Looks like a fun time, thanks for sharing with us.

              Is this sorghum cane or regular sugar cane syrup? I bought my first jar of sorghum syrup a couple years ago, that stuff is delicious on hot buttered corn bread or leftover polenta sauteed in some butter. Reminds me that I'm out and need to buy some more. Anyone know of a brand of organic sorghum syrup that they really like? There is only one variety sold in a few stores for us Northerners so I'm going to have to look on-line.
              Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
              Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

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              • #14
                I use to make maple syrup with my Dad. It was time consuming but fun. I'd love to get back into it but it probably won't happen this year. Maybe next winter... then again, I've been saying maybe next winter for the past 5 years.

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                • #15
                  This is regular sugar cane. We grow a little Cane ourself and there is a 10 acre cane maize about 5 miles away so we can't even grow cane as cheap as we can buy it. The only drawback is it is a small cane and takes a lot of stalks. We grow a red cane that can be over 1 1/2 inch in diameter so it takes fewer stalks.
                  Last edited by Hershell; 12-20-2015, 04:33 PM.
                  Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

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                  • cis4elk
                    cis4elk commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Interesting, thanks.

                • #16
                  Your cane looks tasty

                  I bought 3 different varieties from Alabama to try in my garden 3 years ago.I cut the canes in the Fall and covered the roots with mulch. One variety survived.This cane ended up growing to 1-1.25" diameter and 5-6' tall by Fall 2015.

                  I grew a little patch of Sugar Drip sorghum cane in 2014.

                  The sorghum would probably do OK in my area if I had a cheap source of water without having to worry about running my well dry.

                  You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 2 photos.
                  Barry
                  NE GA ,Zone 7b Low Temperature of 4F in 2015,17F in 2016,17F in 2017,6F in 2018,17F in 2019

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                  • #17
                    Look very nice Funny Man... There is place in Quebec that make fresh syrup in winter. I think is ice hotel resort. But they build table out of snow and then pour little semi warm syrup (still liquid) onto snow and they roll it onto sucker stick and make syrup pop sickle
                    Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                    1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy πŸ‘ΌπŸΌ.
                    2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                    • #18
                      Thanks for sharing the photos! Brought back memories of riding the back of the tractor behind my Dad to collect the buckets of maple syrup. Boiling the syrup was a long, overnight process with many checks on the temps. All of this cooking over a wood fire inside the syrup house. Dad also grew sorghum and made sorghum syrup. He sold a few gallons of syrup to a local grocery for some extra money. Now, I think the sorghum probably tastes best! My parents also made apple cider in the fall and hominy. I wasn't allowed anywhere close to the hominy operation due to the lye. They had a large copper lined kettle to make apple butter. Lot's of work but everyone seemed to enjoy doing this out in the cold temps!

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                      • #19
                        When I was younger 30's that would be I was in my 30's not the 1930's lol we lived in the middle of a large Amish community, they outnumbered us "English" as they called us 3/1. One day my closest neighbor who was Amish and lived about a 1/4 mile away asked me if I would like to help for the day making syrup just to see how it is done and jumped at the chance. It is a LOT of work. Wish I had taken pictures but the Amish where we were are very conservative even by Amish standards and they would not have liked the picture taking so did not. I have a funny story along that line that I will share below Anyway it was a LONG tiring morning of collecting sap and when you figure you have to boil 40 gallons of sap to get 1 gallon of syrup it is a lot of buckets. He would produce about 1000-1400 gallons of syrup a year most grade A some B and C grade toward the end of the season. They of course are old school......no tubing to centralized collection tanks as they modern syrup makers do now this is all 1 gallon galvanized steel buckets hanging on the trees. Horse drawn sleighs with a collection tank on the back.damn near killed me. Afternoon was boiling the sap a MUCH more enjoyable process.

                        Picture story......There was always some tension between the "English" landowners and the Amish when it came to property rights. The Amish with all their positive traits one not so positive was they had no respect for posted land signs which annoyed some of the "English" landowners. I did not have my land posted so they could deer hunt on my land so I did not care. One day in the tiny town we lived by myself and a friend were having breakfast and there was a group of farmers in there having a meeting trying to see what they could do about the issue. We were asked to join them and we did as saying no would have been rude. So while we were talking I said well they hate their pictures taken, they thought it "stole their souls" and I jokingly said if they are on your land take their picture. More so it would be a good money making endeavor as you could then sell their souls back to them one picture at a time.

                        We were on very good terms with them, heck I had a phone installed on my front porch so they could use the phone if they wanted to, there was a box there so if it was a long distance call they would leave the money to pay for the call, local was free of course. For those that don't know the conservative Amish could not have a phone. Some of the more liberal Amish sects can have a phone but only in the barns. It was mostly just the extended family of our closest neighbors that used it but given the fact most of the Amish had 10+ children it was a LARGE extended family. They are very honest people but they had dirty boots and the tracks of them coming in the house to use the phone drove my wife nuts....

                        A couple of weeks went by and there was a knock at the front door and there stood 3 very old Amish men dressed in their church clothes, only one of the men I recognized. They introduced themselves as the deacons of the community. I figured they wanted to use the phone they said no they had something they wanted to talk to me about. They had heard of my plan to take the Amish peoples pictures and sell the photos back to them and they were gravely concerned. I busted out laughing an action judging by the stern expressions I received they did not appreciate. I explained to them I was not serious and that it was just a joke. They were not terribly amused and apparently saw no humor in it at ALL, but the Amish are not big on humor when it came to religious things. Trying to explain a sarcastic wit to group of 80+ year old very serious Amish deacons is not an easy task and I am not sure I ever convinced them I was just kidding. I never did find out who told them I had said it.
                        Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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                        • #20
                          Again your generosity for free phone calls.... I hate to see what Amish people do if you put Iphone out there for them to FaceTime!πŸ˜³πŸ“Έ
                          Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
                          1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy πŸ‘ΌπŸΌ.
                          2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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                          • #21
                            We have big festivals at our Buddhist temple and the sugar cane vendors bring a little extractor to sell the fresh sugar cane juice for $5 a cup... I always look forward to that. By the end of the day they have a huge pile of the dry canes and we run around trying to find one who hasn't sold out.
                            Zone 7a in Virginia

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                            • #22
                              My dad used to tell us stories of kids standing outside the boiling shed waiting for someone to come out and pour some maple syrup on the snow for them (he was from Michigan)...

                              One of the many things we miss out on here in California

                              Thanks for the pictures Hershell
                              Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

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                              • #23
                                I've lived in California all of my relatively short life, and reading about a process I never would have done here is great. I've enjoyed hearing about the process of syrup making, and the photos. It brings a little nostalgia like the Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series, where the author gives an account of her life in the Big Woods in the 1800's (fictionalized a little for kids), and lovingly described the process of making maple syrup and maple candy.
                                Sarah
                                Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

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                                • #24
                                  Hershell's syrup is great, BTW!
                                  Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

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                                  • Sarahkt
                                    Sarahkt commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    Were you one of the beneficiaries this year?

                                • #25
                                  Thanks Bob. I wish I could smell the maple syrup. It has got to smell great. I like the smell of cane syrup but maple has to be great.
                                  Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

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                                  • fitzski
                                    fitzski commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    i still remember the smoky sweet maple smell when my Dad used to do it.

                                    Do you use wood for the fire when you boil the cane into syrup?

                                  • Hershell
                                    Hershell commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    No wood. That would be extra work. We use wood to heat the dome greenhouse. The syrup is cooked with used motor oil and diesel. And a little propane. Daniel is the chief cook and fireman. I choose just to help
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