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STEP 1: Identify the Trees
There are over 100 different species of Maple trees all over the world. Not all are suitable for making Maple Syrup. The best trees for making Maple Syrup are the Sugar Maple and the Red Maple. Some sugar makers will use Black Maple or Silver Maple but the highest sugar content will be in your Sugar Maples.
It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup so the higher the sugar content of the tree, the better!
Knowing how many trees you will be tapping enable you to determine approximately how much syrup you can make.
STEP 2: Tap the Trees
Sugaring season varies from region to region but usually the end of February or beginning of March is the ideal time to start tapping your trees. Warm days and cold nights are the first signs of spring. Those warmer daytime temperatures allow the Maple trees to thaw and the sap to start flowing.
Whether you use buckets or a system of pipeline will be determined by how many trees you plan to tap.
No matter what system you choose, the drilling procedure is the same. The only variation is the size of drill bit needed – most of our kits use a 5/16” tap so that is the size drill bit you’d need. Select a wood-boring drill bit and mark your drill bit with tape or a marker at 1½” from the end. This mark will show you where to stop drilling.
Pick a spot on the tree trunk approximately four-feet off the ground. Drill strait into the tree and do not go deeper than 1 ½”. On a warm day, sap might start flowing immediately.
Once the hole is drilled, you simply insert the tap, gently tap it in with a hammer until it feels snug, and attach your bucket or tubing.
The tap will stay in the tree for the entire season.
Step 3: Collecting the Sap
Whether by using buckets or a system of pipeline, you will collect sap daily.
Maple trees produce 1-3 gallons of sap EVERY DAY during the season.
Sap left sitting in buckets can grow bacteria – this is not harmful as the sap will be boiled but the bacteria can make your syrup darker.
If you can’t boil your sap every day, it’s okay if its stored in a cool place out of the sun. Some people keep their sap all week to boil on the weekend—this is fine.
Step 4: Boiling
Fill your evaporator pan or a turkey fryer with your sap, fire it up and start boiling.
Sap is generally 98% water so you will be boiling off most of the water and are left with syrup.
Depending which method you use to boil, you could be boiling/evaporating for hours!
Step 5: Drawing off & Filtering
Using a syrup hydrometer, you need to continually check the density of the liquid in the pan.
Only when the hydrometer reads, 32 Baume or 59 Brix have you made syrup.
Pour your syrup into either a cone filter or run it through a filter press and you’re done!
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