I am nearing the end of another sugaring season. Ideally, the days should be above freezing and the nights below freezing for a good sap run. When the buds break on the maples you are tapping, the sap no longer tastes good. Usually I don’t wait that long to pull my spiles.
When the days and nights warm, the ants wake up and are attracted to the sap I am collecting and likewise the flies! When my sap buckets begin to look like insect traps, it is time to end the sugaring season.
This leaves me with a couple of gallons of good sap in the refrigerator that isn’t worth cooking down for the small amount of syrup they would produce. This year I decided to try something my uncle told me he had done with small amounts of maple sap many years ago.
My uncle and a neighbor tapped a maple tree out of curiosity but didn’t really want to boil the sap down. They made tea instead! He said that it was the best iced tea he ever drank—so I decided to try it myself!
- I brought two quarts of sap to a boil, turned off the heat, and added a scant 1/3 cup of loose tea. (You could also use tea bags).
- Then I steeped the tea for about 8 minutes—which was too long—5 minutes would be more than enough. I strained the tea and then transferred it to a pitcher and added more cold sap to dilute the strong tea a bit.
- I poured the tea over ice and we drank it as a mildly sweet tea. (Caution: Any amount of lemon will overwhelm the perfect sweetness of this tea.)
It was a wonderful iced tea.
I will probably freeze the rest of my sap in ice cube trays and add it to smoothies or use it to chill some more maple sap tea! Begonia