I was wondering if anyone out there makes their own maple syrup? I tapped my trees two days ago and the sap is running strong. I tapped four tress, but might do one or two more. Will probably boil my first batch next weekend. Curious to hear from any others maple syrup hobbyists out there.
I do almost every year, run about 15 taps in 8 trees. As a kid growing up in Michigan, we tapped about 400 trees. Keep your sap refrigerated, as bacteria will grow quickly in it and eat up the sugar content. Remember, it takes a lot of boiling, typically a 40 gallon of sap to 1 gallon of syrup ratio. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. (not tapping this year, shoulder surgery is keeping me from lifting the buckets)
I would love to see photos of your process, just for kicks. I think this is awesome.
How does this work? And how do I know what tree?
I have a lot of trees in my yard...always surprised by them.
I know I could google - or youtube - but for sake of conversation.
CBS2NY just had a video of an operation with 2400 trees that took 15 miles of tubing for syrup collection. Short, but pretty neat. I haven't seen it posted on their Youtube channel yet, but it may be there soon, or posted on their website.
Step 1. Find a maple tree
Boiled off my 1st batch today. Made maybe a 3/4 gal. Next week the sap will be flowing pretty good. Fun hobby.
Maples the best, sugar or red . Birch too but less quantity.
Bemused - thanks for the advice. I’ve been doing it for about 7 years, so I’m aware of those things. Too bad you can’t do it this year, but I can understand it would be hard with a bum shoulder. It’s a bit labor intensive!
Josh - I tap my maple trees and drain the sap into food-safe bucketed. As the buckets fill, I transfer the sap to larger food-safe barrels. It must be kept cool, which can be a challenge some years. But this year I just buried the barrels in snow. Finally, the real work comes when you boil the sap to make syrup. I average about 1 gal of syrup for every 45 gal of sap. So you need boil away A LOT of water! The pros use commercial evaporators, other people use turkey fryers (using propane). I boil it in two large, shallow pans over an open fire. It’s a long day out there keeping the fire roaring (if the fire slows down even a little bit, the sap stops boiling!). On a good day I can boil away about 5 gal of water per hour. So, if I start with 45 gal of sap, I’m out there about 9 hours and end up with about 1 gal of syrup. I do the last bit of boiling (called “finishing”) on the stove inside, which is more controlled and allows me to check the sugar content to know when to stop. Sometimes my syrup has a slight smokey flavor due to the nature of my operation!
It’s a terrific waste of time, considering I can just but a quart of real maple syrup at Costco for about $15. But hey, where’s the fun in that?
Made me laugh. Your right. A terrific waste off time. Spending the day outside watching water boil. But a great way to get outside after a long winter. Everyone I give my syrup to rave about how good it is. Home made is always better it seems.
Actually not a waste of time: worth about $70 at Dakin Farms VT. Of course, that's below minimum wage.....
Does it taste better at least?
You know what they say when the price of milk goes down? Gotta buy more cows :>) You just need more trees, more pans, more fires, one wait time..... :>)
Of course, I joke about it being a waste of time. But it is very time consuming.....exactly what a hobby should be!
Yes, it does taste better. Just like Indie said, everyone I give it to loves it.
Tasting better is priceless.
Feel the same way about growing apples. A few hours after picking they taste great for some time. But they taste incredibly better right off the tree. Priceless making all the work, hobby it is, worth it.
Just propane burners with 6” s/s buffet pans. Costs a little but I do to much firewood for the house already.
One of these days I’ll smarten up and convert to propane. Roughly how much propane do you use?
Last year about $150. Made about 5 gal. Last year $11 a cylinder. Went up to $14 this year.
Always remember...grade B is the best. The light grades are for the tourists. Real Vermonters use Grade B.
No, not yet. I collected about 20 gallons of sap by early last week, but then it stopped running....I usually wait until I have 30+ gallons before I boil. With the warm weather this week, I expect they will be running strong. It won’t be a problem keeping it cold since I have the barrels buried in snow and there is quite a bit of ice in them now.
Boiled my first batch on Friday. Started with 40 gallons of sap and got about 88oz of syrup. For whatever reason the sugar content in the sap was very low (average 1.8%). Tastes incredible!
Yes, I boiled again last week. I had 52 gal of sap and ended up just short of 1 gal of syrup. Once again the sugar content in the sap was low, averaging 1.8%. The taps have been removed, 1.75gal of syrup should get me through the year!
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