Making maple syrup

ashley_tMarch 17, 2011

Hi there! I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience with collecting sap and making their own maple syrup?

My boyfriend and I just purchased our first home, and there are 6 good sized maples on the property. The sap has sure been flowing the past week, and we've already got ourselves over 2 litres of finished syrup.

What I'm looking for information on is what determines how much sap a tree produces. The biggest maple is producing the least amount of sap. I'm wondering if it's because it's not getting enough direct sunlight/warmth in the roots? Here's a not-so-good picture of some our trees with their taps and buckets.

The tree in question is the tapped tree closest to the point of the camera.

Thanks for any help!

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jonas302(central mn 4)

If you search around there are rules of thumb as to how many taps per size of tree ect

I to have found the biggest trees produce much later I also assumed it took them longer to warm up

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 8:01PM
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brendasue(6)

I don't tap but my brother does and cooks it at my house. On a tree that large he would put 2 spicots.

It could be that it is larger, but also looks partially shaded so that could make a difference, too. Or the tree could be diseased.

I'm not sure where you are located but we had a bad syrup year here(last year too for different reasons), he only made about 7 gallons so far and the season is just about over. He and others are also reporting getting only grade B syrup, very dark, with a lot of sand, which crudded up the evaporator. He had to stop & get a cleaning solution to clean it.

Curious of your location and are you seeing the same?

Brendasue

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 9:10PM
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ashley_t

We live in Central Ontario. We've only tapped 6 trees so we're not going to get any more than we can use ourselves and maybe give a few 350ml bottles to some friends.

He's cooking to the recommended 4 degrees celcius over the boiling point of water (this is what the local syrup supplies store advised, as well as a couple books). It's really quite light. Tastes amazing, but it's reeeally light. We are cooking outside using a propane fire and stock pot set up. When it gets dark and he only has about a half hour to hour left, he brings it inside to finish on the stove.

So far, we have just under 5 litres of finished syrup, with another ~60L of sap waiting to go, plus whatever we'll collect today. The filters are staying relatively clean compared to what you've described, brendasue. Where are you located?

This is our first attempt at doing this, so we're definitely learning as we go! It's producing far more than we imagined. My boyfriend is already talking about "expanding operations" to tap a few more trees at a different property that his dad owns.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 10:18AM
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brendasue(6)

Giggle~snicker~grin He's got the bug. They say that happens.

My brother built a $3000.00 Burner(yup you read that right), evaporator, and now this year temperature guages & flows for automatic pour-off just below Brick (I think that's what it's called). He really enjoys making that syrup!

He also finishes it off on the stove. This is only his 3rd year, and he doesn't even sell it!!! He gives it to friends & family, crazy bug it is in my opinion. This year he tapped different trees-now getting the 40/1 ration whereas the last 2 years it was approx 70/1 and 60/1 ratio.

Anywho we're in CT. His first batch came out light & nice, then dark the next 2 batches & now he's boiling now so we'll see if it gets better. Kinda weird and can't seem to figure it out.

Planning waffles tomorrow-there's nothing like homemade 100% pure maple syrup!

Brendasue

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 8:11PM
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ashley_t

We had waffles for dinner Friday night!

The sap was sure flowing yesterday. We got nearly 50 L! We took a day off from boiling and we're feeling pretty darn behind right now. :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:51AM
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pamghatten(wny5)

Can't help with the original question ... but it's been Maple season here in Western NY, and they say it's been a good year so far. Went to the maple festival last weekend and had pancakes and syrup. Bought a 1/2 gallon home.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 1:09PM
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