How to Tap Maple Trees and Make Syrup

How to Tap Maple Trees and Make Syrup

After many years of procrastinating, I finally accomplished my goal to make my own maple syrup!  The whole process isn’t difficult, I regret waiting so long!  I’m excited to share my experience with you about “How to Tap Maple Trees and Make Syrup”!

First off, you’re going to need a good-sized Sugar Maple tree, no less than 10″ in diameter.  In my opinion, Sugar Maple trees are the best choice for syrup.  However, there are 27 trees that can be tapped for syrup!

large maple tree

My Sugar Maple tree isn’t large enough to tap, so I was grateful when a good friend allowed me to tap from hers.  Besides the tree, you’ll need a few more things….

Maple Tree Tapping Supplies

*Several 5-gallon buckets with lids, food grade

*Drill

*Maple syrup tapping kit

*Food-grade 5-gallon buckets

tools for tapping maple trees

Give all of your supplies a good wash in hot, soapy water before using.

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tools and tubes to tap maple tree

The best time to tap for maple syrup is from mid-February to mid-March. It’s best to drill when it’s above freezing on the south side of the tree, when the sun is shining if possible.

Using a 5/16″ drill bit and aiming slightly upward, drill a 2″ hole into the tree.  I drilled several all around the tree to collect from several different spots, the tree was pretty large.

drilling maple tree for sap

The sap started to run almost immediately!

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sap running from maple tree

With a firm hand, insert the tap into your hole, with the hose already placed on it.

tap placed into maple tree

Place your collection bucket on level ground and insert other end of hose into the lid.  You may have to drill a hole in the lid.

tapping maple tree with collection bucket

The sap came out easily!

maple sap running through hose

I set up all of my 5-gallon buckets on separate trees, and put bricks on top of them to keep them steady.

The next day, nearly half of my 5-gallon buckets were full!  Dang!

maple syrup nutrients

maple sap in bucket

Continuing to collect sap for a week or so, I collected 40 gallons of sap which should boil down to one gallon of syrup.  You’ll need to keep an eye on your buckets.

NOW to the good part, making maple syrup out of the sap!

Strain your sap using a coffee filter.straining maple sap

Best Way to Boil Maple Sap

Use a large stainless steel pot to boil down your sap.

Due to the long boiling process, it is recommended that you boil your sap outside.

You could cook it on an open fire or on a propane burner.

However, I decided to cook mine down inside.  There was a lot of steam to deal with and if I had to do it again, I would have set my propane burner up outside.

Why didn’t I do this in the first place?

I know myself pretty well.  I can be really forgetful and I knew that I would forget about it and burn all my sap.  But it’s up to you.

maple sap in large pot

How Long Does It Take to Boil Maple Syrup

For me to boil down 40 gallons of sap, it took nearly 8 hours.

You’ll need to do this on a day that you’re home all day to keep an eye on your sap.

Fill your large pot about 3/4 full and keep at a steady boil.  As the sap boils down, keep adding more until you boil all of it.

After about 8 hours, my sap finally started to look like maple syrup, taking on an amber color.

At this point, you’ll want to transfer your maple syrup to a smaller pot.

boiling maple syrup

How To Tell When Maple Syrup is Done

Continue to boil maple syrup with a thermometer in it. Your syrup must reach a temperature of 219 degrees before it’s finished.  This is 7 degrees above the boiling point of water.

Once your syrup reaches 219 degrees, and you have to be very close to it because it’s easy to miss and burn it, remove the syrup immediately.

Your maple syrup is complete!

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thermometer in maple syrup

Let your Maple syrup cool and it’s ready to use!

That’s how to tap for maple syrup!

Enjoy!

maple syrup in mason jars

 

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