Sunday, April 6, 2014

Backyard Sugaring!

This year we tapped our maple trees for syrup! Last spring we learned how easy it was and that we had an abundance of maples so, being the doers that we are, we did it this spring! Let me tell you, its easy, its fun, and its delicious.

Here is the basic how to of this process.

The freeze thaw cycles that we enjoy in our area from February through March cause pressure changes within the trees which cause the sap to be pushed out when you drill and spile the tree. This doesn't hurt the tree and after the sap stops flowing the tree heals right up.

1. First determine if you have maples. Ask a friend, do a google search, but make sure. Both sugar maples and regular maples can be tapped for syrup. If you don't have sugars you need to boil down the sap a bit more, but it still makes sweet nutritious syrup.

A captive audience
2. We ordered plastic spiles and tubes from and bought a few food grade 5 gallon buckets from Lowes to collect the sap. We started by drilling into the trees, then hammering in the spiles. We connected the tubes to empty milk jugs at first but they filled too quickly so we upgraded to the buckets.
Don't worry Peeta, I'll get the water for you!

3. The sap spoils in warm weather so after about a week we started boiling it off. This should probably be done outside but with four littles we did it inside, 5 gallons at a time. It took about 7 hours, using just one pot and adding to it over the course of a day. It was really easy. I went about our day and school, but added more sap every time the pot got half way boiled down. We cracked a few windows and just considered the added humidity as good for the skin.

Boiling down
4. We don't can in our house. We're just not the kind of people I would trust to get or keep anything sterile. So we cleaned some mason jars and filled them, waited for it too cool before we capped and keep them in the fridge. I have had no problem keeping maple syrup open in the fridge for months.

5. Finally, we enjoyed the sweetness of our very own, home grown, all organic, maple syrup. I've grown corn, tomatoes, flowers, and pumpkins but there is something really specially about holding a jar of my very own syrup.

5 gallons of sap for this much syrup
If you have maple trees I totally suggest giving this a try next spring. Our children loved every part of it, especially the tasting parts.

For more information check out I'm not affiliated with them in anyway but they had good information beyond the basics.

1 comment:

  1. I am so intrigued. I alwsys thought they had to be sugar maples... I'm sure on this here ranch there have to be maples. We have many oak and nut trees but I never "looked" for a maple. Thanks for sharing this great adventure.