A Sweet Endeavor
Recently, Kenan and I have been experimenting with the production of pure maple syrup. We have tapped over 20 maple trees and have gathered about 100 gallons of sap. We have been thrilled by having pure maple syrup from our own back yard. Tapping maple trees is a very simple and fun process to do but most importantly the temperature needs to be right. When it is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or more in the day and 30 degrees fahrenheit or less at night the sap will run more freely.
Now this is how you tap maple trees. First, find the your tree. The best type of tree to tap is the sugar and black maple which are often called rock maples. Other maples called soft maples (silver, red, etc) can be used, but syrup production is lower. Secondly I got some inexpensive writing pens: white ones that look like small PVC pipes when you take the inside out. I cut the small pen in half to get a 2 inch long pipe, and then I drilled into the tree 2 to 3 inches at a slight upward angle of 10 to 20 degrees. Drill the hole any where from 2 to 6 feet above the ground. Thirdly, I stick the 2 inch long pipe or pen into the hole, place the milk jug around the pen, and circle wire around the tree through the milk jug to keep the milk jug from falling.
Next comes the fun part: boiling down the sap into syrup. I pour 2 gallons of sap into a pot, boiling it down at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter. It doesnt matter where you boil your syrup. I just boil it on our kitchen stove and havent had a problem. Every 2 gallons of sap that I have boiled produces about 1cup of pure maple syrup. Although it is a little runny the syrup still tastes pretty good. If you like syrup thicker just keep boiling but keep a good watch that it doesnt burn. After boiling the sap, filter the syrup through a paper towel or coffee filter to take out the crystals and other impurities that may be in the syrup. Then make yourself some delicious pancakes and use your freshly made ‘maple’ syrup. Enjoy!
“The trees of the LORD are full of sap…” Psalms 104: 16