We are the proud owners of a massive sugar maple tree. Do you know what that means?! We can tap it and start sappin’!
This endeaver started in the fall when we confirmed the tree’s identity.
We waited for our local hardware store to receive the taps in and purchased a few, along with a couple of metal buckets.
Ask any sugarmaker and they’ll tell you that there’s no definite date to start your operation. We waited for warmer days with temperatures still below freezing at night.
When the day was right, Thomas drilled the tap holes. We used two because the tree is so large. The sap began to flow immediately. We have been collecting about 2-3 gallons a day. Now, that may not seem like much when it takes 40 gallons of sap to yield one gallon of syrup. But it is certainly enough for our family of three. We have been boiling it down everyday. We first filter out the bits of bark and bugs that might have wandered in using cheese cloth. We boil it down and then filter again to remove the impurities. The sap can spoil. If it isn’t boiled down the day it has run, it should be refrigerated or kept in the snow outside in a shaded area.
Most sugar houses use a hydrometer to test the sugar content. If you have a home operation, a candy thermometer should suffice. When the temperature of the sap reaches 7.1 degrees F above the boiling point of water you will have syrup. We have been keeping an eye on it and when it spikes above what it was, we call it a day.