Be A Nature Detective: Making Maple Syrup

We only have five maple trees on our property and each year we produce two gallons of maple syrup, just enough for our family's consumption.

Making maple syrup is a rewarding experience for children and families. It is a wild foraged food source that does take a lot of time, but is always worth the effort!

Can syrup be made from any sap out of any tree? 
Well, it depends on what you want to use the syrup for. If you want something to sweeten your morning pancakes then maple trees have the highest content of sugar. Syrup has also been made from birch trees, 

How do you get the sap out of the tree? 
A person has to drill a hole into the tree and tap in a spiel, a small peg that will let the sap drip out. A bucket or jar is also attached to the tree to catch the drips of sap. 
• How quickly does the sap come out of the tree? 
It depends on the season and temperature. If it is freezing during the day, the sap won't come out or "run." An average sugar maple tree will produce about 20 gallons of sap for a season (1/2 gallon of syrup) The best conditions are cold nights and warm days.

 What does maple sap taste like? 
It tastes like lightly sweetened water as it is 98% water! 

 How do you make maple syrup? 
Sugar maple bark 
The water has to be boiled off (evaporated) to create the syrup. The process is similar to making candy but syrup is only boiled until it the water content is at 33%.  The sap will thicken as the water evaporates. The process is complete when the temperature of the sap reaches 7°F above the boiling point of water. It's approximately 219ยบ (That will vary depending on your location.) 

• What does it mean to "finish off?" 
Boiling isn't the only process, the maple syrup has to be skimmed of foam while it boils and filtered to strain out any hard bits.  

 How many gallons of sap does it take to make syrup? 
It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. 

If you want to try this at home, please cover your bucket so no animal will fall inside and drown or drink up all your hard-earned sap. 

Never boil the sap inside your house. All the evaporated water has to go somewhere and it can create a sticky mess.  

No I have not done that ;-) and yes, I do know people that have. ;-) 


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