Did you know how simple and easy it is to purify your spruce and pine saps after you harvest them ? They can be purified and stored for later use, or you can use them right away. For myself, I use saps in a lot of my products and so it is very useful to be able to store away pure sap , ready to be warmed up and poured right into my favorite recipes for salves and soaps! The reason to purify, is that this process removes the majority of dirt, sticks , bugs, and whatever else may be sticking to your raw sap, and this will them make it suitable for adding to your products.
In this tutorial, I am using fine dust and rock pine sap, and some larger chunks of pine sap.
Before we get started, you are going to need a few things. I highly suggest you use tools that are designated only for sap, as they will become sticky, dirty and near impossible to clean. Trust me on that. Also, use an outdoor fire pit t cook on, or in the very least protect your kitchen counter tops. Sap is very hard to remove from stoves and counters.
Pro tip, you can even use soup cans to clarify sap in. I have a few tools and pans that are made only for sap, and if they get too caked in dried sap, I place them in the freezer and then they can be chiseled off. For stirring , I literally use a stick. Easy to find, easy to dispose of when I am finished.
Tools needed :
-Large soup can, or medium sized pot
- stainless steel mesh strainer
-glass jars for storing the pure sap, or a large flat baking dish lined with parchment paper.
- some type of stirring stick or utensil
- heat source, stove or fire pit
** warning ! Sap is flammable ! Please be careful not to spill it on your burners. I have never had sap blow up, as it just kind of slowly burns away, but it has been used for the ends of torches becasue of its tendency to catch flame and burn slowly. Please take care when working with sap.**
-Some type of receptacle for placing your wood pieces for disposal
Here is my pot, I have filled it half way with pine sap, I am using the small pieces that are from the bottom of my harvesting bucket. Then I will add in more of the larger pieces Once I get a good boil going.
So, first , get your sap into the pot, and turn up the heat to a slow heat. I started with a medium low. Let this sit and simmer until you start to see small bubbles form at the bottom of the pot. You can start to stir at this point, and in my photo you can see the sap is starting to melt!
Continue the slow heat, with continuous stirring. Notice all of the chunks of wood and pine needles are becoming more apparent as it melts? This is why you must clarify !
Keep going ! Now your pot should look something like this. you will be getting an all liquid solution with floating sticks and needles. This is exactly how It is supposed to look at this stage.
Eventually, the level of your sap will start to rise as it heats up more. Now is a great time to add in my large chucks of sap to the mixture.
Keep stirring ! Don't stop, your sap is looking great I am sure of it ( even though it looks like literal puke) Now your home should be filled with the wonderful small of pine sap ! My house smells like pine for days after I make a batch and It is just lovely. Keep stirring, your sap should slowly melt into itself, like the way butter slowly melts into mashed potatoes..... MMMMMMmmmm.
Ok so now I have a full pot of beautiful, liquid sap! Keep stirring ! The mixture will start to create a foam on top. This is a good thing, you need the sap to be hot enough to pour.
Now my foam is fully formed and my levels are rising. Take care not to overflow your pot, if you find this happening, reduce the heat and remove the pot for a few minutes, then place back on and heat up slowly again. Mine is ready to pour!
Ok so now that Mine is ready to pour, I have to set up my jar and strainer. I placed some paper on my stove top, ( parchment paper would have been a better idea ;p)
to catch any spills or drips from my pot as I transfer my mixture to the jar. Two sets of hands might be better then one at this point, I tried to make due with what resources I had, which was a very small strainer and a pint sized mason jar. I recommend you use something more larger scale. Trial and error right !?
Ok, so now its the hard part, pouring hot liquid sap while trying to strain out chunks of wood and pine needles. So much fun with two hands, uugh.
Because my strainer was so small, I had to do this again and again , very time consuming and hard, since I have to empty the wood out constantly so that I dont get a clogged up strainer. Use a large mesh strainer, and pour enough to fill half of the strainer, and then use your stirring stick to swish around the wood, allowing space for the sap to seep into the strainer. use a large glass baking dish lined with parchment paper to catch the filtered sap. Next time, that is what I will be using. Make sure to keep your pot on the burner when your not using it, once the sap starts to cool it becomes very thick and difficult to strain out. Keeping it nice and hot makes life a lot easier for you ! Wow look at this ooey gooey mess!
Now you can get a good idea of how purified sap looks. It has a very smooth consistency, like molasses. There should be minimal debris in it at this point, maybe some small flakes that may have gotten through the strainer.
Keep straining it, and make sure to stir the mixture in the strainer around to allow for the sap to get through . If you find that its not sifting very well, simply dump whats in your strainer back into the pot, keep it simmering and palce your strainer into the freezer for a few minutes. Then take the strainer out and you can chip away the hardened sap right off. Run it under hot water before you pour the sap again, or it may be too cold and cause your sap to harden and clog again. Then once your liquid is hot again, start pouring :)
Its not pretty, but thats ok !
Now I am finished pouring my melted sap. Do you see how the color has changed dramatically ? If I were to use a baking dish with parchment paper instead, then the layer of sap would be much thinner then how it appears in a glass jar, and you would be able to get a nice amber color if you held up the hardened sap against the light. Because mine is in the jar, I wont be able to show you. You can however, get a small glimpse of the amber color by looking at the rim of the jar. This is purified pine sap!
You are now left with a material that you can use in salves, soaps, balms, and so much more. If you use a baking dish wit parchment, you can crack the hardened sap after removing from the dish and then store that into jars. My jar ill be stored in a cold room until I need it for my next soap project and then I will simply heat up my jar in a water bath, and then pour my sap into my oils needed for soaps. That simple ! And there is no debris, no dirt, no bug shells, just pure liquid pine sap!!
I really hope that you liked my tutorial ! Please let me know if you made this recipe yourself, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I have some links to my youtube videos scattered within my blog for you to click on the get a video look at what the sap should look like in the pot, please like, and subscribe to my channel if you want to see more cool videos like these! I love to share my knowledge with the world and have a great time making these blog posts for you guys. If there is something you would like me to blog about in particular, please let me know!