Tag Archives: making maple syrup

Home made Canadian Maple syrup

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Home made Canadian Maple syrup

I am very proud to be Canadian. I am proud of our country and people, and I am proud of what we are known for… you know, stuff like Mounties, moose, beavers and maple syrup….

So, to keep those stereotypes alive, I decided that I should learn how to make my own maple syrup, like a good Canadian! I tried once before a couple years ago, (I think I might have blogged about it too) and since I bought all the maple syrup-ing gear and high tech equipment, I might as well put it to good use. Btw, the gear I am referring to is a bucket, a tap and a plastic tube.

The photo above is the tree on our front lawn. Since all of my neighbours think I am a little crazy anyways, there’s no need to hide my syrup making operation from anyone. 🙂

Here’s the process. Drill a hole in the tree, about three feet up, close to two inches deep. I used a 7/16 drill bit.

You basically keep drilling until the sawdust starts to get wet and mushy. When you remove the drill bit, if the sap starts dripping, it’s ready to put a tap in it. You can kind of see in the photo below.

Btw, the white stringy stuff you can see isn’t mold, it’s actually just spiderwebs left over from last years Halloween decorations…

You know you have drilled to the right depth when the sap starts running down the bark of the tree. When that happens, use a hammer to gently tap the spigot or tap in.

Then, connect the hose to the tap, and make sure the other end is going right into the bucket. You should be able to see it running.

I found that the most sap is collected late morning to the afternoon. Overnight, the sap slows down a little, I guess because it gets below freezing most nights.

Here are the first few drops. It looks like it is going to take weeks and weeks, but it is surprising how quickly it accumulates!

I also tapped the maple tree in our backyard. Every day, I would say I collected anywhere between 10-15 cups of sap. Every night, I put the sap in a saucepan and let it simmer until it was about 50% of its volume, then I cooled it and stored it in the fridge until the end of the week, when I made the syrup.

Now for the exciting part…. watching a pot boil for hours and hours! There is absolutely nothing difficult about making maple syrup. It does not require any skill, talent or knowledge… just a lot of time.

I started with about half a saucepan, let it boil, and kept adding more sap as it boiled down. You must have an exhaust fan running, because this generates a lot of moisture in your house!

I have no idea if there is a more scientific way to tell, but I figured my maple syrup was done when it is the thickness of maple syrup. It turned out a lovely amber colour. It’s amazing how sweet it is!

So, I’m not sure exactly how much sap I started with, but I read online that it has to reduce 40 times to make syrup! So make sure you scrape every drop of that syrup out of the pot!

Not sure if I’m going to do it again, when I add up the cost, including electricity, it’s probably ten times what it costs to buy. However the cost of saying you made you own maple syrup….priceless!

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Sappy to Sweet… The Maple Syrup experiment-step 2

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Sappy to Sweet… The Maple Syrup experiment-step 2

So if you read my last post, this weekend we tapped into two maple trees on our property, and started collecting sap, one drip at a time.

Link to collecting sap from our Maple trees

When I woke up yesterday morning, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t run right outside (yes, in my PJ’s) to check my sap buckets. The one in the backyard was about halfway full! But, the one in the front only had about an inch. Overall, I would say there was about 5-6 litres. Here was the overnight haul, it’s hard to see, because the sap looks as clear as water, but the smaller pot was from the tree in our front yard.



I used a coffee filter to pour the sap through.



As you can see, there were a lot of little bits of sediment at the bottom of the pot.



I poured in about 6-8 cups of sap, then I turned on the stove at a medium heat and let it boil and boil….

And boil some more. And more. Note: I kept the stove/range fan on for most of the day as I have heard that the amount of moisture produced can do some damage to your house!

Kind of ironic, but I was thinking about going to a local sugar bush to see maple syrup being made with friends yesterday, but I couldn’t because I had to watch the pot boil. Watching a pot boil all day is actually not as much fun as you might think. Lol



I kept adding more sap as it reduced. I used a spoon to roughly measure, and everytime it reduced by half, I poured it a little more sap. I never let it get lower than about an inch. You can see in the below picture how it started changing colour and getting a little darker as it reduced. The smaller pot on the right was my boiling pot. 



It only took about 6 hours to reduce it…here is what it looked like towards the end.



You are supposed to use a thermometer to determine when the syrup is ready, but to be totally honest, by the time there was only about a centimeter left in the pot, I just couldn’t let any more boil away. I figured if it reduced any more, there wouldn’t even be enough for all of us to have on our pancakes. I thought it was better to have more syrup, even if it was runny syrup. Better runny than none!

At the bottom of the pot, there was some more sediment, so I strained it again through a coffee filter…



So, this is what 5 litres of sap turned into:



Liquid gold! I have to say, that I have a whole new appreciation for Maple Syrup now. God help anyone in my house who wastes a drop of maple syrup from now on! 

My friend dropped by late afternoon, and picked us up some syrup from the sugar bush, and we laughed at the tiny bottle, but in comparison, it doesn’t look so tiny!

Just to give you some perspective, the pot was 3/4 full with sap, and this is the bottle of syrup it produced.

So, let me give you a quick summary….

– About $40 in supplies, including the spigots, buckets, tubes, and drill bit

-About 10 hours to collect the sap

-About six hours of boiling time to reduce the sap to syrup

So, $40 plus 16 hours to make 1/2 a cup. Wow! 

But, the experience of now being able to say that I tapped our trees and made maple syrup from scratch….. Priceless! 

We did a taste test this morning with our signature chocolate chip pancakes…

Ms. Butterworts vs. The real maple syrup vs. Our maple syrup! 



It was pretty hard not to be a little biased here… But our syrup go four out of four votes (or at least no one dared to vote otherwise)



As you can see, it was a success. We still have quite a bit left after our morning pancakes … We could try making taffy, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to boil it down any more! 

So, I can check this off my bucket list. The problem is that my bucket list keeps getting longer… Isn’t it supposed to get shorter as you get older? I need to retire soon!