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Been wanting to do it for quite some time now and yesterday, we finally got our bums in gear, headed to the maple trees and had a go at things.  We have two silver maples in the yard and I’m interested in seeing what kind of syrup we can yield for ourselves.

Both trees are much larger than 20 inches in diameter, so we decided to put two taps in each tree.

(My little helpers were very excited about this little after school adventure!)

We drilled our holes..slightly angled for a good drip…

(felt a bit bad drilling into the tree….but I’m assured all is good and not harmful…I’m now wondering if I’m going to need to do anything to the hole after I pull the tap in a few weeks to prevent anything from getting in there or if it will just heal itself) I always have lots of questions whenever I do something for the first time…

Inserted our taps.

And watched the sap flow….

The side of the tree that was facing the sun at that time of day had a nice stream of sap…

the opposite side was a trickle.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was surprised that the sap came out crystal clear like water.  (I even double checked things to make sure that’s what it was supposed to look like). Brought in a little over a quart in a short amount of time…temperatures dropped below freezing today, so I’m not anticipating much more until tomorrow when it warms back up into the 40′s.  I also need to get a better ‘bucket’ system – I just worked with what I had..but I think I can do a little better with some metal pails or tubing and a 5 gallon bucket on the ground, instead of the old flimsy ice cream buckets.

I’m storing what I collect in jars for a few days until I have enough to boil down and then we’ll get going on that step.

I love doing this kind of stuff.  Hopefully I did everything as I’m supposed to and we’ll be tapping for years to come.  We don’t know if we don’t try, right?!

Do you tap for maple syrup in your yard?

michele.

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  7. Lori says:

    Wow! This is awesome! When I was little, we took a tour at a park where they tapped the maples. I’ve always wanted to go back. That would be interesting to tap different kinds of trees.

  8. Michele says:

    Thanks for sharing what you learned JWalt! I wasn’t exactly sure about the slight angle on my hole, but I had read several sources that recommended it so I ended up doing it both ways just to see if it made any difference. Kevin, I’ve never heard of any sort of laws that prohibit the activity, (unless of course it has to do with tapping trees that aren’t on your property or something) but I’d have to research things to find out more. From what I understand all maples (red, black, sugar and silver) can be tapped…their sugar content just varies…You can also tap trees such as Birch and Walnut I believe, and I’m going to assume that the flavor just may be slightly different. I ordered my taps from a place online called http://www.tapmytrees.com. We have so much that is naturally available to us if we only take time to learn about it and do our part to take healthy advantage of it. It’s great fun, for sure! Thanks for sharing everyone…enjoy hearing from you all!

  9. JWalt says:

    So glad you’re giving this a try. We considered tapping last year, but never got around to getting the supplies. In an effort to participate in the season and shake off some cabin fever, we went to a local park over the weekend to take a guided hike and tour their sugar house. From what I understand, you can tap any tree, but a Sugar Maple is best because of it’s high sugar content. It will take 40-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. When tapping other trees, it could take as much as 90 gallons to make one gallon. Also, the sap flows from the ground up. Your taps look like they are working well, but the park personnel drilled their taps straight. When you “boil” the sap, your main goal is to remove approx. 98% of the water. As it boils down, it does get darker. However, the syrup from early season taps will be lighter than sap collected later in the season. The naturalist thought this might be because the tree was pushing more nutrients later in the season to encourage tree growth. Lastly, you will need to boil any sap you collect within a certain time frame. I’m thinking 48 or 72 hours, but you’ll need to double check on that. I’ve known people that have boiled around the clock in order to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t get too hot and turn to sugar or worse burn. The people at the park keep the fire smaller and don’t even bring it to a simmer. It takes longer, but is easier to control. Good Luck!

  10. kevin milam says:

    I really would like to give this a go…..what kind of maple trees are good for tapping? Where can i get the taps? Are there laws supporting/prohibiting this sort of harvesting of maple. I use syrup at least 3 times a week and love me some maple so any help i can get will be appreciated

  11. The FairyDogmother says:

    Hey Michele…Im jealous!! This is one of the things on my bucket list….(i dont get out much, huh!!)…lol…..when I saw it pouring out clear, i wondered why also….does it darken as it ages, hmmm, anyway, glad you children got to participate in a fun adventure!

    Susan Floyd

  12. Phil Gould says:

    I helped my dad with this years ago and it was fun. Our county conservation put on a demonstration and we decided to give it a try. As I recall it took a lot of sap to make a small amount of syrup, but it was delicious. We found out it requires careful watching toward the end or the syrup will quickly turn to sugar. Have you decided where you’re going to do the boil-down?

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