Boiling is very easy. You can boil inside or outside. There is a lot of steam, so boiling inside is not the best choice, but if that's your only option you can make it work.
Whether you choose to boil inside, or out the process is pretty much the same.
If it's outside it depends on the method you choose whether you will need wood to keep your fire going so that your sap remains at a constant boil, or if you go with a Big Kahuna, you will need to make sure you have fuel to keep it going.
Make sure you have a large heavy duty pot that can hold a few gallons, canning jars, cheesecloth, strainer, colander, another large metal bowl or pot, and a candy thermometer.
Pour your sap into your pot (to the top) and turn the heat on high. No need to stir it ever. Just let it come to a boil and leave it there.
Here are some pictures of what to look for when you're boiling.....
Once your sap gets boiling you will see foam on the top. Just scoop it off with a large spoon or strainer. A strainer is better because it just grabs the foam and you don't lose any sap.
You will see the color change from being clear to the color of syrup (after many hours). A caramel color to be more specific.
When most of the water has evaporated you will be left with what seems like nothing compared to what you started with. I know, not very encouraging but it's true.
The encouraging part about that is that you are almost finished!
It's time to stay close to your syrup. You want it to reach about 219 degrees.
I use a candy thermometer sometimes if I am uncertain, but you can usually tell by the signs when it's finished.
Before you go any further, if you have not done so already, you should have your jars sterilized and ready to be filled. Also get your cheese cloth ready because you are going to want to strain your syrup before putting it into your jars. Make sure you have enough jars ready. You don't want to come up short.
I place my colander over a large stock pot. Then, I place my cheese cloth over that.
Now, I sit back and watch my syrup carefully. Here is what I look for....
Bubbles (not foam) are starting to form. Within a few minutes you will get more rolling bubbles....
Hold tight! Don't get anxious! More bubbles need to form!
We are ready! Hold it at this rolling boil for a minute or two. Check it with your thermometer if you have one. If you don't have one pull it from the burner. It's better to be safe than sorry. You can always put it back on the stove and continue boiling if you find it to be a little more on the liquidy side than the syrup side. But, you'll probably be fine. You will have to wait till the syrup cools to be able to tell how liquidy, or thick it will be if you are taking a shot at it with out a thermometer. The more you do this the easier it will become to know when your sap has become syrup.
Note: If you discover that your syrup is too liquidy and it's alreay in jars, don't worry. You just open the jars and pour the syrup right back into a pot and bring to a boil. This happens to me sometimes because I get too anxious and pull it before it's completely turned to syrup. Just wash the jars and lids and give it another try!
Take your syrup over to your colander and pour it through the cheese cloth.
I pour the syrup directly into my jars right from the pot after it's been strained.
The syrup is very hot so be careful.
I fold a towel in half just to protect the counter. Screw the lids on as soon as you have filled them. Once I know the lids are secure I tip the jar upside down for a quick second on then place it back on the counter. this just helps it to seal properly. I leave the jars right on the towel and wait till I hear the seal suck in. It will sound like a little pop or click. It's melodious!!
You are finished!