Welcome to The Pauley Principle!

The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!

Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Making Maple Syrup

Here is Chris pouring collected sap into a storage container.
Maple syrup is cooked down from sap that you gather from sugar maple trees. There are no other ingredients, not even water. And it's incredibly good. On the market, maple syrups will often have corn syrup, gluten, color and other additives which can stretch profitability and decrease the steaming time required. Since it takes 35-60 gallons of the thin slightly sweet sap to make a gallon of pure maple syrup, doing it the old-fashioned way takes time but the result is pure YUM!

These little jugs are self-sealing.
Gather your supplies. We use food safe plastic jugs, buckets, storage containers, and little PVC water line spouts unless you want to go truly old-fashioned and use young, pithy elderberry saplings to make spouts. Maple syrup production houses will collect into stainless steel vats using long water lines but we simply gather the jugs, pour into buckets and bring it to the kettle twice daily. After the sap cooks down, we check the sweetness with a hydrometer, but tasting is the best test of all!  I buy little pint jugs to store it in for a vacuum seal. Very fresh, very pure. 

Chris is gathering sap.
PVC works perfectly. Shave down the insert to prevent leakage.
Start tapping the trees when daytime temperatures are going to be above freezing but nights are still very cold. In Ohio, the sap usually begins running fast sometime in February. 

If you have the opportunity to tap into maple trees and decide you'd like to give this a try, plan ahead. If you steam off the sap inside your kitchen, it can strip your wall-paper! Been there, done that, at our old farmhouse. If you cook it down outside with a gas turkey fryer, the cost can end up being around $10-$11 a pint for the propane, not counting the cost of the jug. We began cooking over a wood fire a few years ago, using a tripod and kettle. Oh, and a large firewood supply. Whatever method you choose, proceed slowly and with caution. Be aware that if you cook the sap down over an open fire, the syrup will retain a smoky flavor.
Doing it the old-fashioned way takes a lot of wood...
...and WORK!

Try my cousin Stephanie's recipe for Sticky Bun Tea Ring and you'll want to search for maple trees you can tap into yourself!


  1. We won't be tapping here till after the next cold snap coming. Late February early March.

    1. dr momi, our winter has been odd, and as you know, you have to hit it right. Please post about your mapling if you do it this year!