The sap flow has been surprisingly slow during what appeared to be ideal conditions, with lows in the 20's and highs in the 40's. It took 3 days of sap flow to collect enough to justify starting the evaporator. The sugar content of the sap is 2.3%, which means it takes approximately 37 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Because we had stored the sap for several days, the sucrose in the sap broke down into glucose and fructose, which resulted in a darker syrup upon heating in the evaporator.
The process of conversion of sucrose (a disaccharide) into two monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) is called hydrolysis. This is seen more commonly when the weather is warm or sap is stored for extended periods. Our first batch of syrup had a very robust flavor for this reason.
The weather looks favorable this week and we hope last fall's drought will not carry over to decreased sap flow.
Check back later this week for an update.