I must now close this epistle; I have many letters to prepare for friends, to whom I can only write when I have the opportunity of free conveyance, the inland postage being very high; and you must not only pay for all you receive but all you send to and from New York.
Adieu, my kindest and best of friends.
Douro, May 1st, 1833.
[The following Communications have been received from the Writer of this Work during its progress through the Press.]
THIS spring I have made maple-sugar of a much finer colour and grain than any I have yet seen; and have been assured by many old settlers it was the best, or nearly the best, they had ever met with: which commendation induces me to give the plan I pursued in manufacturing it. The sap having been boiled down in the sugar-bush from about sixteen pailsful to two, I first passed it through a thin flannel bag, after the manner of a jelly-bag, to strain it from the first impurities, which are great. I then passed the liquor through another thicker flannel into the iron pot, in which I purposed boiling down the sugar, and while yet cold, or at best but lukewarm, beat up the white of one egg to a froth, and spread it gently over the surface of the liquor, watching the pot carefully after the fire began to heat it, that I might not suffer the scum to boil into the sugar. A few minutes before it comes to a boil, the scum must be carefully removed with a skimmer, or ladle,—the former is best. I consider that on the care taken to remove every particle of scum depends, in a great measure, the brightness and clearness of the sugar. The best rule I can give as to the sugaring-off, as it is termed, is to let the liquid continue at a fast boil: only be careful to keep it from coming over by keeping a little of the liquid in your stirring-ladle, and when it boils up to the top, or you see it rising too fast, throw in a little from time to time to keep it down; or if you boil on a cooking-stove, throwing open one or all the doors will prevent boiling over. Those that sugar-off outside the house have a wooden crane fixed against a stump, the fire being lighted against the stump, and the kettle suspended on the crane: by this simple contrivance, (for any bush-boy can fix a crane of the kind,) the sugar need never rise over if common attention be paid to the boiling; but it does require constant watching: one idle glance may waste much of the precious fluid. I had only a small cooking-stove to boil my sugar on, the pots of which were thought too small, and not well shaped, so that at first my fears were that I must relinquish the trial; but I persevered, and experience convinces me a stove is an excellent furnace for the purpose; as you can regulate the heat as you like.