Almost daily, leaving a light covering taken again,
as if to say, “Not so soon.”
Patience for spring, tried and failing.
this process, I know that its conclusion marks the arrival of spring. That, each day, and with each step, the grip is loosened.
The final step in the process of making maple syrup, aptly called “finishing,” takes the evaporated sap from the pan outdoors and brings it to the proper density indoors, over the stove. Of the entire operation, from the tapping of the trees until the syrup lines our shelves as amber in glass, this final step requires the most precision.
Out come the fancy tools of the trade, wrapped carefully in tissue and kept in a drawer, safely aside from all the other heavy kitchen utensils that might break its delicate, glass form. The hydrometer—a weighted float, calibrated and marked in fine black and red lines along its hollow, slender stem, to measure the specific gravity, the liquid’s density relative to that of water. And a hydrometer cup—a tall, thin, metal container that will hold a column of liquid for testing.
Hot liquid, ladled from a pot on the stove, and into the cup, is checked often, until the hydrometer floats in the column to just the right mark.
Too dense, and crystals may form within the jars.
So, as we are “finishing,”
so is winter, wrapping itself up,
releasing, finger by finger, its grasp.
And leaving us with amber in glass.
Amber in Glass
View more ABC Wednesdays here!