After collecting the sap, we bring it back to our evaporator. It is driven by a wood-burning stove. The wood comes from trees that were blown down in storms, etc... around Indianapolis. We pour the sap through a filter to strain out any unwanted debris (leaves, bugs, etc…). Then, we pour it into the evaporator. The sap will cook at a low boil for about 10-12 hours. We usually start a batch on a given day and finish it up the next. Some producers will stay with a batch until it has finished. Modern day facilities have machines that monitor the syrup and have automatic shut-offs. It takes a long time to remove the excess water in the form of steam from the sap. What will be left behind is concentrated sugars that eventually make syrup. True maple syrup has nothing added to it; it is pure sap collected from the tree and boiled. Nothing else.
If all the tests indicate it is ready, we will filter the syrup through three filters, then take it inside to bottle. We heat it up on the stove to 180 degrees F, then bottle it while it is still hot.
Here is an action shot of my two co-workers busily working while I am goofing off and taking pictures. :) Miranda Sears is in the foreground and Chris, Captain Sugar-Maker, is in the back checking the evaporator. And, yes, he insists on being called Captain Sugar-Maker.