Maple Sugaring

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by PineBurrowPeeps, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Hi groupies,
    Today I had a strange yet really nice thing happen.
    I was sitting upstairs folding some laundry when I hear some commotion outside and suddenly my 8 year old comes running up the stairs to tell me that there are some guys cutting down the trees in my yard!
    Well I go running around the corner to look out the window and find that they aren't cutting my trees down, they are drilling holes in my Sugar Maples and putting sap buckets on them! So I told my DH to go outside and ask them what this is all about because we were planning to tap our own trees this year or next to make maple syrup. Anyway, we just wanted to know what the heck they were doing because they certainly hadn't gotten permission to tap our trees and they didn't do them last spring which was our first year here... We would have remembered seeing huge white 5 gal buckets on the trees!

    So he goes outside and I'm all irritated and stuff, I get pretty possesive of my trees! I'm watching my husband and one of the 6 guys talking and the main guy is nodding his head and everything and then starts talking to my husband more and showing him how the buckets work and stuff. I watched him go into the back of his truck and hand my husband a good sized jug of maple syrup and 4 more 5 gal buckets and then they shook hands and the sugaring guys left in their three vehicles.

    He comes in and I say to him "Well that certainly doesn't look like you told them to get their buckets off my trees!"
    And he starts telling me that the guy was super nice and hadn't known that the house was sold, and that the prior owner always let them put buckets on the trees. He told us that we can take as much of the sap as we want and he left us the extra 4 buckets and lids to keep, he showed my husband how to open the buckets on the trees and remove the sap.
    Apparently they will leave the buckets on until early April.
    They said on a warmish day, it could take only two days to fill the buckets! They put 3-4 buckets on each tree!

    Okay, so DH and I were planning to do this ourselves and bottle the maple syrup for Christmas gifts for this upcoming year.
    We obviously haven't had a chance to read up on how to boil the sap down into syrup...

    Is there anyone here who knows the process and wouldn't mind telling me about it?

    One of the biggest things I'm curious about is how much will the sap boil down? How much do I need?
    They said that they will come by once a week or so and take any surplus sap from us.

    To me this seems like a good arrangement, I use their equipment for collection, save myself the money of buying taps and buckets and whatnot, have someone install and remove them for me, and I still get all the sap I want!

    We saw about 4-5 other house today when we were leaving that they had put buckets on.
    When we asked them why we didn't see them last year, they said they had let the trees rest, is that routine?
  2. maplesky7

    maplesky7 Flock Mistress

    Jun 14, 2008
    N. IL.
    We did it for a couple of years. Very very VERY ummm in a rudimentary kind of way.

    You need A LOT of sap to make syrup.

    We built a fire pit with cement blocks and scrap metal. We put a tarp over a tree branch and anchored it down and let that be our temp. shelter while we were cooking outside. We used those circular metal feeders to cook it down and then brought it in and put the rest on a couple of big dutch ovens on the stove so I could measure it's temp. and of course strain it through cheese cloth to get out some of the sediment.

    I wish we had a bigger set up...pans and would have made it a lot easier and less time consuming...we were at it night and day...morning and night. It was fun though and the syrup in the end was worth it. Oh and we didn't have big buckets...we used our gallon milk we had to collect more often than you will have to.

    I don't remember reading about giving the trees a rest but you don't want to use the same holes...let the scars heal...and drill in another part of the tree.

    I would do some internet research...that's what I did and I got a sugaring book for the small homesteader kind of thing...can't remember what it was called off hand but it gave me the basics and I kept going back to it.

    Here it is:

    Backyard Sugarin'
    by Rink Mann
    The Countryman Press

    I also ordered:
    The Official Vermont Maple Cookbook
    isbn #1-880327-43-0
    beverage, main dishes & veggies, cakes, pies, candies, salad dressing, substituted for granulated sugar....

    Have fun!!!

  3. redoak

    redoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    It takes 40 to 55 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. We made 58 pints last year from 20 taps on 10 trees. We used 5 gallon buckets and some mornings the buckets were overflowing after being emptied the night before.
  4. So do you put it aside and cook a bunch at once or do you keep adding more sap to the already cooking mixture?
    How do you know when it's ready?
  5. maplesky7

    maplesky7 Flock Mistress

    Jun 14, 2008
    N. IL.
    Found some of my notes:

    --May take over 40 gal. sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

    --Maple runs late feb. to early march--season 4-6 weeks norm

    --night time 20* and daytime 40* when it runs best

    --one tap hole....some get 10 gallons a season...some get more than 70 gallons

    --rule: each tap is aprox. 1 gal. per day.

    --no more than 3 taps in one tree

    --tap is usually 2-4 feet from ground

    --slant tap hole slightly upward so syrup runs out

    --12 in. diameter tree is about a 40 year old tree

    --amount of sunshine, precip., temp. range, soil moisture play role in production.

    --proper tapping and sap collection methods will not be detrimental to tree (many have been tapped every year for over a hundred years)

    --Legend: Iroquois Squaw wife happened upon it when the husband's tomahawk had been yanked from a tree when he was hunting and sap ran out the next day in the sun. They called it, "sweet water."

  6. Gee whiz... This sounds consuming. But I'm up for trying anything once!
  7. maplesky7

    maplesky7 Flock Mistress

    Jun 14, 2008
    N. IL.
    Quote:I'd suggest reading about it somewhere about the boiling down book takes from page 68-80 to describe the process and hints and tips.

    I haven't done it in a couple of my memory isn't as fresh.

    and that was the part i kept rereading while i was evaporating....

  8. mjdtexan

    mjdtexan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2008
    Quote:I have no clue about that stuff but I am JEALOUS. I would instantly make up a six gallon batch of maple syrup wine. Dangit, I wish we had maple syrup trees here in Houston(ish).

    snagglefragerts##*&#$)[email protected] no darn maple syrup trees around here. You Yankees get all the good free stuff. [​IMG]
  9. maplesky7

    maplesky7 Flock Mistress

    Jun 14, 2008
    N. IL.
    Quote:it is...but worth a try.

    let that guy tap your trees and give you syrup in return. ha ha...make them do all the work.

  10. Maple Syrup Wine?! Sounds... Interesting to say the least.

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