A few years ago we decided to tap our trees. It was quite the adventure and a great learning experience. The main thing we learned is…this stuff is liquid gold! No wonder it’s so expensive. It takes so much sap to make a small amount of syrup. Basically it’s around a 40 to 1 ratio. Then there’s the time and firewood invested in boiling it down. We had a lot of fun making it but it was a one time deal. It hadn’t occurred to us to make it until the last year we lived on the property with a small wood lot. And since we no longer live there we’ll have to rely on friends and neighbours to supply us with our Maple Syrup.
How it all started was I googled “how to make maple syrup” and found a website called Tap My Trees. Too funny. It literally explained the entire process from start to finish.
We learned how to identify the best trees for tapping. Not an easy thing to do since it was February and there were no leaves on the trees. We learned how high to tap in the spiles and in what direction they should face. We learned that the sap runs best when the days are above freezing and the nights are below. We rigged up some cloth covers to reduce the twigs and other debris that landed in the pails.
Once we had a large plastic container full of sap, we started a big fire. It burned for days. We would do a batch each day and it would take ALL day.
When the sap had boiled down and reduced almost enough, we finished it inside so we could monitor the temperature.
And to prevent this from happening.
We didn’t want to do the entire boiling process inside because of the humidity and we thought we might get sticky walls.
We got 7 small jars of syrup from a garbage pail sized container of sap. The colour changed from lighter to darker as the season progressed.
In the end we were quite proud of the results.
If you drive the back roads of Norfolk County you’ll see signs advertising maple syrup for sale. Make sure you stop and support a local syrup maker. It’s not cheap. But it’s worth every penny!