Thursday, March 8, 2012

Maple Syrup time at the Buttonwood Inn on Mt. Surprise

The homemade taps are up on the trees and the sap is flowing really well today. For those who have never tried this, as was the case with me until just last year, it is really simple and the reward of fresh, dark, sweet maple syrup, that you can say you made, is just great. Here is a great website for learning how to do it your self: Make your own Maple Syrup 

Simple tap setup

 This picture is an example of how you can use everyday things from around the house to tap, collect, and make your own syrup. Of course, you can always buy the Starter Kits on line. They are relatively inexpensive when you consider how much fun you will have, and the fact that the syrup you are producing is quite expensive if you were to buy "pure" malple syrup at your local grocery store. The process is simple and the tree does most of the work. I even made the "Spiles" which are the metal tubes inserted into the 2 inch deep holes drilled into the tree at a slight upward angle. As for boiling the sap down, the quoted ratio is 40 to 1. That is, for every 40 gallons you boil down you end up with 1 gallon of sap. I usually shoot for a couple of quarts. The sap looks and flows like water initially and don't worry, the trees produce an abundance of sap and as long as you don't place more than one tap for every 10 inches of tree diameter you will be OK and the tree won't notice either.

Boiling off the first sap of the season

If you really get into it, and decide to produce gallons of syrup, then you might want to consider boiling it down the old fashioned way which is done outside or in a "sugar shack" using a wood fire. There is something to be said for "getting back to nature"!

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