March 31, 2015 at 11:11 am #148318
I finally took time to tap a couple red maple trees this year and boil the sap down. Here is the result.
April 1, 2015 at 7:40 am #148327
Pretty clear results. Must have been an early batch. The later batches have been much darker. I’m about to eat some pancakes covered in fresh maple syrup as I type this. It’s worth all the work my son did.
April 2, 2015 at 10:46 am #148335
April 3, 2015 at 9:51 am #148339
I did that for a few years in my yard but my wife and kids always wanted that fake crape made by Aunt Jamima. They didn’t care for real maple so I stopped doing it. Thankfully by brother does it on a production scale so I always have some.
April 3, 2015 at 10:02 am #148340
Would one of you care to share some specifics on doing this?
– Specific time of year to start?
– Type(s) of maple trees?
– Boiling process: how long, what’s involved, etc.
Been wanting to try this myself one of these years. I have several maples on my back 20.
April 6, 2015 at 12:19 pm #148343
You can tap any maple tree but I would in this this order of preference: Hard, Red, Soft. The hard maple tends to have the highest sugar content 3-4.5% and you’re looking at an average of 40 gallons of sap to make on gallon of syrup. I actually have some large red maples I tapped and the sugar contest was close to 3%. Tree diameter 10-18″ 1 tap, 19-24″ two taps and 36+” you might get four taps in per tree. Ideally you want it to freeze at night and warm up during the day. Southwest facing taps will produce the most sap but you can get sap from any side. Around here it seems most were setting taps the first week in March and it will flow good as long as the temps stay in the right range. Once the tree buds start to open you’ll want to be done because you’ll get a bitter taste to it. You also want to collect the sap weekly so it doesn’t get too cloudy and begin to break down leaving you with a lower quality syrup.
It’s best to boil outside and I would suggest building a brick rocket stove but I just did it indoors and opened all the windows. It took about 5 hours to get it down to syrup. When boiling, you want surface area so a long rectangle pan is best but if you use the kitchen pot, will it a couple inches deep and add a couple quarts every 10 minutes until your sap is gone. When it starts getting close it will start to have an amber color. Now is a good time to strain it through a filter into another pot before the final boil. The final boil won’t take too long and you’ll know when it’s really close when it wants to really foam and if you take your stirring spoon and can see where it wants to sheet off rather than just drip. If you have a candy thermometer it will change to syrup 7 degrees above what water boils at for your altitude/region.
April 6, 2015 at 12:23 pm #148345
you da man, thanks Shawn! Can you describe the tap and bucket you use?
April 6, 2015 at 8:25 pm #148346
Pretty simple stuff, and many farm supply stores sell it but I happened to order these taps through amazon.
I just used food grade five gallon pails and since my trees were large I drilled 4 holes in each. You’ll also want a 5/8″ bit to drill your tap holes.
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