Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Adventures in Making Maple Syrup: Part 2

So, to this date we have collected over 86 gallons of Maple sap! It's seriously getting out of hand! We had to clean out one of my husband  "storage" garbage cans (these hold his tree climbing and cutting gear for his business, not garbage!) to store the sap because we were running out of containers! We have probably boiled down about 30 gallons so far and our syrup is dark brown and sweet! 

First I'm going to explain how we tapped our trees. You can purchase spigots from places such as this, but they are kind of expensive if you are doing a small scale operation like we are, yes 90 gallons is small, remember it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup! Plus we are cheap frugal around this house and wanted to spend as little money as possible. We decided to go with this suggestion and use plastic tubing and paraffin wax to make our spigots. 

My wonderful husband drilled the holes, we used about 1/2 inch tubing, so 1/2 inch holes. Then he drilled a screw right above the hole to hand the jugs on. We used Paraffin Wax (check the canning aisle) to seal around the tubing. Some sap will still seep down the tree but the majority of it will go through the tubing and into the jugs.  In order to seal the holes with the wax you will need to soften it first. I used and old tin can and placed the wax in the can then the can in a pot of warm water until it melted. Once it started to solidify again then it was the right consistency to rub on the holes. 

This is what our syrup looks like right now. We've strained it one and will do a final strain with some cheese cloth once we're done. 

So far we've just been boiling it on our wood stove in the house, but it's been getting warm outside and some days we don't put a fire on. We'll have to think of something a little more creative (as faster) in the near future! I don' want to be making syrup in July! :)

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