Man was she ever wrong *laugh*. Every morning I'd go out and chip the ice away on that bucket to release it from the tap and carry the bucket inside like I was carrying the crown jewels or something. We warped every cabinet in our kitchen that year from the boiling times required to get maple syrup and I only think we ever got up to light maple syrup when making it. We had mason jars FULL of syrup in our unheated back hallway for YEARS afterwards. Still one of my most pleasant childhood memories as the sense of accomplishment I got from making that syrup sticks with me.
As I grew older and we moved to Pennsylvania, maple syrup was a bit more expensive to buy, but wasn't terribly bad. Then I moved to Alaska, maple syrup became popular as a sugar substitute in cooking and I watched the price on maple syrup resemble the price on a new car.
I stumbled across a recipe years ago to make your own pancake syrup and I would can it every year when the kids were small to help extend the life of my one lowly jug of maple syrup. Now a days I give that liquid gold to the kids and my husband and I use the pancake syrup when money gets tight. I started messing with the original recipe as it would come out kind of thin and would crystallize over time as it was just a basic sugar syrup with flavoring, so I came up with this recipe.
This comes out thicker than regular maple syrup, but it definitely gets the job done. Just to warn you, though, if you taste it before it goes in the jar and don't think much of it, can it, let it cool THEN taste it. It comes out tasting different with the additional cooking and cooling times (which I've noticed that happens with a LOT of canning recipes).
Also an additional note here. If I have extra maple flavoring I'll add an additional tablespoon or so just for a more maple flavor to the syrup but I kept it at 3 TBS because that's the amount I get out of a standard 1 oz jar of McCormick maple flavoring at the store, and thus will help keep the cost of the final syrup down.
- 8 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp. canning salt
- 3 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp. imitation maple flavoring (the entire contents of a 1 oz bottle equals 3 TBS)
1. Prepare canner, jars and lids to standard sanitary canning practices.
2. Combine sugar, brown sugar, water, corn syrup and canning salt in a large stock pot. Heat over medium-high heat until mixture boils and sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat, cover and boil ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Turn heat to low. Add vanilla and maple extracts (there will be some violent bubbling when you do this). Return mixture to a simmer.
4. Ladle hot syrup into hot jars leaving 1/2" head space. Process in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Turn off heat under canner, remove lid and let sit 5 minutes. Move jars to a tea towel or other insulated surface and leave to seal.
Check seals after 24 hours. Any jars that are not sealed can be moved to the fridge to be used immediately.
Makes approximately 5 pints of syrup.