Saturday, March 06, 2010

How to make maple syrup

1. Find a sugar maple tree.
2. Wait until the temperatures start to rise above freezing during the day. This just happened last week where I live. You might also notice sap starting to drip from the trees--another sign that it's maple syrup season.
3. Drill a hole in the south side of the tree, angled slightly upwards. I used a 1/2" drill bit.
4. Insert a maple syrup tap and gently hammer in until snug.
5. Attach a container to the tap. I use a short piece of tubing to make sure the sap goes where it should.
6. Collect the sap and strain through a thin cloth (this will filter out insects, bits of bark, etc).
7. Boil. Boil. Boil. Boil. Boil until all the windows in your house steam up. Keep adding more sap to the pan as the liquid evaporates. You'll be boiling off approximately 25 to 1. For every 25 cups of sap, you'll get about 1 cup of syrup.
8. When it's close to being done, check every 10-15 minutes. You don't want to burn the syrup!
9. The syrup is done when it starts to bubble up and foam.
10. Pour into hot, sterilized jar with a sealing lid such as a canning jar. I also reuse glass jelly and syrup jars. Refrigerate syrup after opening.

I installed these taps today around noon. The maple tree was big enough for two taps. By 7 pm, I had collected 3 gallons of sap; this yielded 1 cup of maple syrup. It's delicious!


  1. I had NO idea it required boiling down, I honestly thought it came from the tree looking all brown and delicious, but I am from Australia. Huh. No wonder its expensive! Nice work!

  2. Dang, probably one of the only memories I have of Kasson is going across the street to the school to collect maple sap.

  3. I just learned this year that you can get maple syrup from ANY maple tree...not just sugar maples! (But, apparently, sugar maples make the best tasting syrup.) Honestly and sadly, I don't like real maple syrup. I prefer the unhealthy corn syrup imitation syrup junk! Lovely, I know! But, my husband loves real syrup!

  4. What! that's it? I have three maples in the back yard and I thought we couldn't tap them cause they probably aren't sugar maples...but any maple will due?

  5. Yes, you can tap any kind of maple, but the sugar maple sap is the most concentrated. The ratio will probably closer to 40:1 or 50:1 for other kinds of maples.


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