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Chillicothe, Illinois (WMBD) — A blue tube sewn through the trees at Camp Wokanda in Chillicothe indicates that the maple syrup season has begun.
The Nature Center harvests thousands of gallons annually to produce about 100 gallons of sweet and sticky syrup.
Camp manager Jacob Mol says he started making syrup in Wokanda about six years ago and started collecting sap as soon as the weather began to warm up in March.
“When temperatures are above freezing during the day and below freezing at night, the sap flows very well,” says Mol.
He says there are several types of maple trees, but Camp Wokanda was a big hit.
“Mainly, we have all sugar maple trees,” Mol said. “This is the best type of maple for syrups, as it has the highest sugar content.”
Mol says the sap begins as a clear, water-soaked liquid. After undergoing a multi-step process that includes reverse osmosis, evaporation and filtration, it becomes the golden syrup that people know and recognize.
“We need to take 40 gallons of sap and cook it into 1 gallon of syrup, so we have to take out about 39 gallons of water,” he said.
The staff makes a small hole in the trunk of the tree and the sap flows from the spill into the tube. Mike Miller, director of environmental services in the Peoria Park area, said Wokanda will use an ecologically efficient network of tubes to transport sap to collection tanks.
“We can let a lot of sap flow by gravity,” Miller said.
The tube method is cleaner and faster than collecting sap in an open-faced bucket.
Millers say their syrup is a unique product, unlike corn syrup-based ones that are artificially flavored in grocery stores.
“This is a pure maple product, grown locally and harvested locally. All proceeds will be returned to the Peoria Park area and Camp Wokanda.”
Mol says they will bottle about 80 to 100 gallons of syrup this season.
Miller is encouraged to give it a try and get a bottle at the Park District Earth Week event on April 24, 2021.
“Going back to corn syrup, the taste of pancakes is never the same,” says Miller.
The maple syrup season is here: Camp Wokanda begins the bottling process
Source link The maple syrup season is here: Camp Wokanda begins the bottling process