Hickory Syrup

Hickory Syrup

8 oz shagbark hickory bark
6 cups water
4.5 cups white sugar


Harvest the Bark
1. Harvest hickory bark from a living tree that looks fresh and clean, without any evidence of mold, moss, fungus, or discoloration.
2. Scrub the bark in a sink of warm water.
3. After the bark is cleaned, put it in bowl with warm water and allow it to soak for 15 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 400F.
5. Drain the bark and transfer to a pan and bake for 25 minutes.
6. Remove the bark and allow it to cool, then break it into 3-4 inch pieces.

Hickory Tea
1. Put the bark into a pot with high sides, add the water to cover.
2. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, then allow to cool with the bark still in the water. (If you cook it too much and the water level gets low, add another cup of water to keep it submerged-it’s not an exact science.)

Making the Syrup
1. Once the hickory bark tea has cooled, strain it through a fine strainer to remove any particles.
2. Put it back into a pot, preferably 8 inches in diameter that you can simmer it in.
3. Add an equal volume of sugar (one cup sugar for each cup of bark tea).
4. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook until it reaches 225F on a thermometer. This should take about 20 minutes.
5. Once the syrup hits the proper temperature, pour it, boiling hot into two clean pint mason jars, screw on the lids, and allow to cool.

You can keep the finished syrup in a pantry for a long time, but it should be refrigerated after opening as it will eventually turn to vinegar if left out.

Use the finished syrup anywhere you use maple syrup, but know that it’s lighter in volume. It’s not maple syrup, but it’s cheap, and fun to make.

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