Using a stiff brush, scrub each piece of bark on both sides under running water to remove any insects or lichen. Pat the bark dry with a dishtowel.
Break the bark into manageable pieces – 4" to 8" works nicely.
Preheat your oven to 325°F.
Spread your bark in one layer onto cookie sheets, and toast in the oven for 20–30 minutes, just until you begin to smell a wonderful, hickory aroma.
Now place your bark into a large pot and cover with filtered water. Bring to a boil, and immediately lower the heat. Simmer slowly for a half hour.
Strain your liquid and measure.
Add one cup of organic cane sugar for each cup of liquid.
Be sure to completely stir in the sugar to prevent it from crystalizing later on.
Bring the liquid back to a boil, and continue cooking until desired thickness. It’s not necessary to stir constantly while cooking down the syrup. Cook until it reaches 225°F on a candy thermometer.
While the syrup is cooking, sterilize canning jars and lids.
Once the syrup reaches its desired consistency, pour the hot syrup into the hot canning jars, leaving a half inch headspace, and cover with lids and rings. The lids will seal and the syrup will keep until ready to use.
Once opened, refrigerate the syrup.
The amount of hickory bark you collect will determine how much syrup you can make. The recipe can be made with any amount at all.