From Tree to Table: How To Make Your Own Maple Syrup
Syrup is a staple in almost every kitchen, and it’s the perfect topping for pancakes, waffles, and french toast. In fact, there’s nothing better than natural maple syrup. Although you can buy it in many stores, it’s tough to beat making your own. Follow along to learn how to make your own maple syrup and start a family tradition that may become the legacy you pass down to the next generation.
Knowing When To Start
The exact time to start this process depends on where you live, and it may change each year. Regardless, the sap flow begins when the daytime temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit but drops below freezing during the night. Generally, the best time to tap is between mid-February and mid-March, and the flow can continue into early April.
Supplies You’ll Need
Although making syrup may look different on a larger scale, you’ll still need some essential supplies to begin your small-scale production. Whether you buy them or improvise with what you already own, ensure you have the following materials:
- A drill to make holes
- A spile to direct the flow of tree sap
- A bucket to catch the sap
- A pan for boiling
- A thermometer to monitor temperature
- Cheesecloth for filtering
- Glass containers for syrup storage
Tapping Your Trees
Tapping the tree is the easiest part of the process. Interestingly, you can tap the tree anywhere you want, but it’s best to consider collection ease for yourself. Typically, three to five feet up from the ground is an ideal place to tap.
First, drill a hole in the tree’s trunk according to your spile’s size, and be sure to slant it upward so the sap can flow out freely. Next, put the spile into the tree and gently tap it with a hammer. Lastly, hang and secure the covered bucket so the sap begins to drip into it slowly.
Collecting the Sap
Although it’s difficult to do this all the time, it’s best to collect the sap and make the syrup the same day it runs because this maple water will spoil relatively quickly. Pour the sap through a piece of cheesecloth to filter out any large debris before starting the syrup-making process.
You can put the sap in the fridge or freezer until you have enough to boil.
Making the Syrup
Although making syrup probably isn’t your main reason to look for maple trees for sale, the process is much easier than you may think. Read on to learn just how simple it is!
Boiling the Sap
Because the sap will make everything nearby very sticky, you may want to do this outdoors or in a garage. Depending on the sugar content, it may take 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of finished syrup.
Pour your sap into a dutch oven or other wide pan and add heat; as the water evaporates, add more sap to the pan. Be sure to keep at least an inch and a half of liquid in the pan to prevent burning.
Finishing the Syrup
As the water evaporates from the pan, the boiling point of the syrup continues to increase. Interestingly, finished syrup boils at 7.1 degrees above the boiling point of water; be sure to use your thermometer to determine when the syrup is ready.
Storing in Containers
After the syrup is ready, pour it into glass containers. Store the containers in a dark place or in the fridge. After opening, store the syrup in the refrigerator to ensure extended freshness.
After learning how to make your own maple syrup, you can make good use of your maple trees. Whether you sell the syrup for profit or make it as a hobby, you won’t regret utilizing your trees to create something so delicious.