What it all boils down to … Maple syrup

No one really knows who discovered how to make syrup from the sap of maple tree. We do know that the method of making maple syrup has not changed much since the times of the Indians. Yes, if you have only a few sugar maple trees, you can make your own maple syrup but it is a time consuming process. If you have that time and you follow these 10 simple steps, then you can make your own maple syrup.

  1. Sugar maples should be at least 10 inches in diameter. Trees with many branches produce more sap than trees with small tops.
  2. Drill a 7/16-inch hole 3 inches deep at a convenient height.
  3. Hammer in a metal or plastic spout snugly enough that it cannot be pulled out by hand. I used plastic spouts that will attach to plastic tubing.
  4. Hang a bucket or plastic container under the spout; cover it to keep out rain, snow and debris. This is a great way to reuse plastic milk jugs. I drilled holes into the top on 5 gallon water jug and inserted the plastic tubing connected to the spout into the hole.
  5. When the containers begin to fill, the sap should be collected and refrigerated until you are ready to boil it down to syrup. Collected sap will sour if left too long in the sun.
  6. Traditionally the boiling down of sap is done in pan or kettle over a fire but any source of heat will work. Boil the sap in a large stainless steel pot or pan, preferably outdoors so that the steam will not cause problems in the house. You can build an outdoor firepit, use a camp stove, or even an outdoor grill.
  7. Pour sap from the bucket into pan and start the boiling process. Take the temperature of the sap when it first comes to a boil. This will help you know when it is finished syrup. About 10 gallons of sap makes 1 quart of maple syrup.
  8. Maple syrup will be 7 degrees above the temperature of boiling water at your elevation. Confirm with a thermometer.
  9. Pour hot syrup through a filter, or cool for 12 hours until sediments fall, then pour clearer syrup from the top. Reheat to at least 180 degrees or almost to boiling.
  10. Pour finished syrup into clean, sterile canning jars and seal. Store in a cool place.
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