We did some “Maple Sugar’in” last weekend.
We tapped 3 Maple trees. This is the time of year when maple sap is flowing. There is no set month or day, just whenever the daytime temperatures are getting warmer and the night time temperatures are below freezing. We have maple trees in our woods and thought it would be fun to try to take advantage of all that sap.
10 things About Making Maple syrup
- Tapping maple trees is EASY! You just drill a hole into the tree & stick a spile in the hole. That’s it. Sap will begin to run out of that hole in no time at all. The spile’s we bought came with cute 2 gallon buckets to hang from them. They also came with cute lids so that leaves, rain, and general, forest debris won’t fall into the sap bucket. The sap ran out of the tree into the bucket.
- You can stick more than 1 spile in a large maple tree. If you happen to locate the big-kahuna-maple-tree a’flowing with sap you can stick a couple of spiles in it on separate sides of the tree, at different levels to get even more sap.
- The buckets may fill at extraordinary rates. The largest tree we tapped filled the 2+ gallon bucket in a day. Be sure to check the buckets often. One of our trees had an overflowing collection bucket dangling above a maple-sap pool on the ground. We missed that giant puddle of sap because we didn’t check the buckets often enough. You can collect it every day or two and store it somewhere cool until you are ready to process it.
- Maple sap is not sticky. It looks like water. It is a thin liquid that tastes like water with a slightly-sweet flavor.
- Once you collect the sap it is best to process it as soon as possible. The sap can spoil. Plan on making some syrup or processing the sap (maple water) into storage containers within a week of collecting it.
- Making syrup is a fun outdoor activity. Any excuse we can find to build an outdoor fire is fine with me. I love fires. Kids love fires. Neighbors come over, friends congregate and chat. If making syrup means hanging around a fire with friends all day – twist my arm. Let’s do some Maple Sugar’in!
- 40 gallons of maple sap will give you 1 gallon of syrup. That may seem like a small gain from a large quantity of sap but remember: a nice size maple tree can give 2+ gallons of sap a day. You will have a lot of sap! And, fires are fun. Once you get the sap boiling over the fire it doesn’t need much help from you. So, you can work in the garden, build some fence, chop some wood, or just sit and chat with friends while your sap boils itself into syrup. Nothin’ to it.
- If you don’t want a boiling marathon…….. You don’t have to make syrup! Maple sap (also called maple water) is a wonderfully healthy beverage that can be enjoyed straight from the tree. It is a great natural hydrator. It can be used as an after (or before, or during) workout beverage to replenish electrolytes in the body. It contains iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, and a little bit of sugar. It is good for bone development, digestion, and metabolic function. You can also cook with the maple water: make smoothies, breads, soups, and tea. It’s surprisingly delicious.
- It took us 6 hours to turn maple sap into syrup. This included: collecting the sap from all the trees, straining it, building the fire, boiling the sap, straining it again, finishing the boiling on the stove in the house, and straining it one last time into a sterilized mason-jar for storage. I spent 5 of those 6 hours chatting-it-up with my husband and our neighbors. Did I mention that fires are fun?
- Homemade Maple Syrup is awesome: easy, natural, healthy, delicious, perfect.
I’m having pancakes in the morning.
Step-by-step on how to make your own maple syrup here.
Why Maple Syrup and Sugar are not the same here.
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