Making Maple Cream
We spent this last weekend making four batches of delicious maple cream. Let me tell you all about it...
In order to make maple cream you have to have syrup that has the right invert sugars. This is found in the Grade A Light syrup. To figure out if you have the right invert sugars you have to do a little science experiment. Below is a picture of two test tubes. The test tube on the left is our control tube that is just water. The test tube on the right is a syrup water solution. You know if the syrup has the right invert sugars when the test tube on the right is blue like the test tube on the left.
If the syrup/water test tube is more green or a yellowish green it is not good for making maple cream or maple candy. We were unable to use the syrup this test was done on. It was not until we opened up a 31 gallon drum of syrup that we found some syrup with the right invert sugars.
The next step is to heat the syrup around 32 degrees above what water boils at. This can flucate depending on the weather and the air pressure. We use a giant pot to heat up the syrup.
In this big pot we put enough syrup in to be at the bottom of the indent. Which, is about 1.5 - 2 gallons of syrup. The first batch of syrup we accidently put waaaay to much syrup in the pot. We had to stop heating up the syrup more than once so we could take some out.
The thing poking out of the pot is the thermometer we used. It is an old school thermometer. We've been meaning to get a candy thermometer but just keep forgetting. This is what the thermometer looks like up close.
As you can see the temperature of the syrup was right at the cream level. This thermometer is adjustable. Like I said before water does not always boil at the same temperature every day. As soon as I was done taking this picture Jim was taking the pot off the burner.
Once syrup is heated it needs to cool without being disturbed. For the warmer days we created a way to cool the syrup using two rubber maid containers and a pump. Since it has been cold outside, (although this weekend it was pretty warm out for December) we were able to leave the syrup to cool in the sugar house. We did learn the hard way not to leave syrup too long cooling. It crystalized and did not make good cream. Here is a picture of cool syrup.
Once the syrup has cooled to about 70 degrees or colder it is time to put it in the cream machine. I am very thankful for the cream machine. I would not be able to stir this enough to turn it into cream.
I forgot to take a picture of our entire cream machine. I got the following picture from Lapierre's website, which is a big maple company out of Canada.
You turn the machine on and pour in the cooled syrup. The machine pushes the syrup up the tube and cycles it over and over. This mixing of the cooled syrup turns it into cream. I did make a short video of the to be cream coming out of the spout.
For some reason the cream looks really weird colored. I think this is from the lights that are in the canning room. Here is a picture while the machine was running. Jim was holding the spatula I was using to stir it. As the syrup is pulled through the machine it comes out a lighter color. Over time it gets lighter and lighter. In this picture you can see the different colors.
It takes about 10-15 minutes for the machine to turn the syrup into cream. Once it is ready this machine has a handy little lever you just turn and out comes the cream. In the picture of the machine it is the red handle at the bottom of the pipe.
We had an order of 8 Quarts for The Farm Table. Here is a picture that shows the different sizes of cream containers we use.
The big white containers hold about five pounds of cream. We also found that cream looks nice in mason jars.