Sunday, February 17, 2013

Adventures in Tree Tapping {First Maple Syrup Adventure}

I was so excited when our friends Wayne and Becki let us borrow a tree tap and collection bucket! We have 2 maple trees in our backyard but have never thought of tapping them to make syrup (I was under the false impression that only sugar maple trees worked). The Tap My Tree site gave a great, brief overview of how it all works.

Friday night my husband tapped the tree. By about 5 o'clock on Saturday we had not quite half a bucketful (it was probably closer to a 1/3). I poured the sap into an old coconut oil 1 gallon bucket (these things come in so handy!). With a 40-1 ratio I knew we wouldn't get much syrup with this amount of sap but wanted to try boiling it anyway and see how it went. Each picture was taken about 45 minutes apart from each other so you can see how the liquid condensed.

I can honestly say I was getting a bit disappointed by this time. The sap was still very runny and clear. Then, finally, the sap thickened to more of a syrup but it was still clear. I wasn't sure if I should take it off the heat or not, so I decided to let it on. Well, I found out what happens if you do, you get maple sugar!

Ah yes, nothing like a big ole flub to make a person humble :)  The sugar was a lot like the maple syrup leaf shaped candies you can buy and didn't taste badly at all but was definitely not syrup!

I guess the next time we'll save up our sap so we can get a bigger batch growing. And I suppose another conversation with our friends about how to boil it down wouldn't hurt, either :)

I am open for suggestions/stories/comments! Have you ever tapped trees/made syrup before? Did you ever inadvertently make candy?

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