Introduction: Making Maple Syrup at Home
Before we start you will need a few things. The first thing you will need are trees, rock maple trees to be exact. The reason we use maple tree sap is because it has the highest sugar content among the Maple tree family. It takes roughly 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup. You will also need a drill, 1/2 inch drill bit approximately 10 taps, A pot you can boil sap in. A few old milk jugs, and some wire
Step 1: Find Some Maple Trees
When selecting the right Mapletree you should look for a tree 14 to 28 inches in diameter. If you select a tree too small you could harm the tree. There are A variety of different maple trees preferably you should use a rock maple tree. If a rock maple tree is not available you may also use a white maple, the only downside to this is that the sugar content in the sap is slightly less than that of the rock maple sap.
Step 2: Drill Holes for the Taps
When you find the right tree to drill be sure the tree is large enough to safely drill. Next you want to put the drillbit up to the tree at a slightly upward angle, this allows the sap to flow down out of the tree through the tap. The ideal depth is 1 1/2 to 3 inches into the tree. After you have drilled into the tree be sure of the whole is clear of all debris. After this step move on to step 4.
Step 3: Position Taps
Once you have drilled the hole in the tree for the tap. You must them lightly hammer the tap into the Mapletree. After this step be sure to wire a old milk jug to the tap. To wire the milk jug to the tap cut a slit in the top of the handle on the milk jug to put the lip of the tap in. Please note the sap may not run as soon as you put the tap in the tree. Let the temperature drop overnight then let it rise allowing the sap to run the next day.
Step 4: Collect Sap
After you have let the sap run collect it when the jobs are full. If your sap is running well then it should be checked once a day. The sap should look a slight yellowish color and taste like sugar water. In the picture above notice the comparison between sap and water. The left jug is sap the right jug is water. Before you start your first batch of syrup be sure to have at least a 5 gallons of sap to boil down, this much that will produce 1 pint of syrup
Step 5: Boil Sap and Can It
Once you have at least 5 gallons of sap, Then you are ready to boil. Get your cooking device out fire it up and get it hot. Be sure to filter your sap before putting it in the pot. This will remove some of the debris from the sap. The sap should take 3 to 4 hours to boil down. Once the sap is down to a low level you can start to remove taste testing samples to check for consistency, before testing for consistency be sure the syrup has slightly cooled so you don't burn your mouth and let it thicken up a little bit. Once the sap is that a syrup consistency be sure to have a sterile mason jar on hand. Once you have a finished a batch of fresh maple syrup poured through some cheesecloth in layers into the jar, this should take out most of what's known as "tree sand" it's a white cloudy substance that does not taste well on your pancakes.once the hot maple syrup is in the jar put the lid on the jar let it sit and cool. The syrup should have a shelf life of about two years.