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!