Making Maple Syrup




Introduction: Making Maple Syrup

About: College student who enjoys DIY projects and cooking

This is my first instructable so comments would be nice.

Step 1: Getting Supplies

First we have to get the necessary supplies.

Supplies needed:

Sugar Maple


Drill Bit (I used 3/8in.)

Sap Collectors(I used plastic bottles with holes in the sides)

Stove or Turkey Fryer, or make one out of bricks

Pot or pan to boil the sap in

Step 2: Identifying the Tree

The tree is not that easy to identify but for those of us who were boy scouts its easy. Here are pictures of a tree and the leaves.

Step 3: Drilling Holes

The title and picture explain it all. I used a 3/8in. drill bit as that was the size of the tubes. Be sure that the tree is large enough, if it is less than 10in. in diameter you can not tap it, but for every 8in. added to diameter you can add 1 more tap. For example if a tree is 34in. in diameter you can put four taps on it. Be sure not to drill to deep, about 3in. is good enough.

Step 4: Collecting Sap

After you have drilled the holes put tubes or taps into the holes and attach the bottles or buckets with hooks, hangers, or duct tape. The tubes were jammed in with the help of a hammer.

Step 5: Boiling the Sap

Next comes boiling the sap. This process can take up to 12 hours. If you are like me though, and only come out with a gallon and a half of syrup, it takes 7 hours. The peak temp. of the sap should be 7 degrees above the boiling point, 100 degrees C. and 212 degrees F. Don't let the sap boil down to less than 1in. or it will burn.

Step 6: Bottling the Syrup

Finally we get to bottle our syrup. Strain it and then bottle it. Make sure to strain it while it is still hot or it will salidify on you and will be hard to strain. Storing syrup in the freezer is ideal as good syrupp won't freeze. Put it in the freezer AFTER is has cooled or the bottle will crack. I hope you enjoy your syrup!!

Step 7: Clean Up!

Clean-up is pretty simple. To clean the drill bit wipe it off with a rag or paper towel. To seal up the tree you can go and buy a tree repair putty, but for me i used the original wood shavings. I stuffed in the shavings and then sealed the holes with epoxy. It is VERY important to seal up the holes as insects and airborne bacteria might get into the holes

the maker of this instructable does not claim any responsibility for damage or sickness caused by the making and processing of this product.



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    68 Discussions

    Apparently the chemical called Quebecol which is present in high concentration in maple syrup protects mice and rats from over stimulation of insulin and regulates sugar.


    Li, Liya; Seeram, Navindra P. (2011). "Quebecol, a novel phenolic compound isolated from Canadian maple syrup". Journal of Functional Foods. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2011.02.004.

    Cardinal, Sébastien; Voyer, Normand. "Total synthesis of quebecol". Tetrahedron Letters54 (38): 5178–5180.doi:10.1016/j.tetlet.2013.07.048.

    I wouldn't be so sure that epoxy is a good idea to plug a tree. After all it is pretty acid and is very toxic to humans !!!…
    A simple traditional window putty and a wooden plug would do as well I guess.

    Hopefully Simeek will weigh in here. I really want to see what he has to add to the conversation.

    I use a different scale.
    10 inshes 1 tap and every 5 inches add 1 tap. But no more than 5 taps.

    Yeah. Thats true. it is not necessary to seal up your tap hole. I dont seal any of mine and i tap hundreds of trees. just move the tap hole 3 inches over and 5 inches up or down for the next year.

    ok the first batch i made came out light and sweet and was boiling at 220 deg and the 2nd batch i made was at 220 deg and dark and maple tasting not to sweet and the 3rd one i made was like a carmel at 220 deg now im doing the 4th and almost all came right out of the tree the 2nd was boiled and than rested for a few days to add more sap does the sap have to sit around to get more flavor from it

    2 replies

    I find that's mostly the weather. as the season progresses your syrup will get darker.

    i'm sure if you check your boiling point of water everytime you begin you will see what I mean. water boils + - 3 degrees which could explain why your syrup is changeing color. sap should be used as soon as possible,as it will spoil in a short time. the warmer it gets,the shorter it's good. hope I helped

    Here's another interesting fact. Commercial-scale syrup operations employ reverse osmosis, to remove some water from the sap, before boiling. This lowers the energy cost (and greenhouse gas emission) of firing the evaporator.

    1 reply

    I have 30 taps in and have collected about 40 gallons of sap to boil down this weekend in my outdoor pan. I had one good warm weather day so I tapped to catch the first run. t turned cold this week so the run stopped, but the weather calls for warmer weather next week. I think I will wait another week or so to tap the other 30. Great hobby! I plan to sell some this year in a family feed store.

    2 replies

    In RI if I offer it for sale I can claim my yard as farm land. Save some bucks on property taxes. It is regulated and you are supposed to grade it before you sell it. That's a bummer. It's graded by color and sugar content.

    omg you would make more than 300$ if you sell it in the south were i live and no maple syrup trees:(

    You can only do it in the spring. Optimum weather is below freezing at night and above 40f during the day. Tap the north side of the tree if possible as that's where trunk pressure builds quickest, angle of sun and such. When the sap starts to look cloudy or the tree buds the season is over. It's a great thing to do with kids. I make several gallons every spring. When my son was 5 he wanted to do it and it cost me 80 bucks to make a gallon. I am a machinist / welder so the next year I built an evaporator from an old sink and a turkey fryer burner. I had the cost down to less than 15 a gallon but this year propane is more. You can do it almost any way you want, just boil it! American Indians used to put the sap in a hollow half of a log and drop hot stones it it. Just don't do it indoors, sticky steam makes a mess.

    so i have a tree that i can get 3 taps into so do i put them on different elevations or around the tree in different spots? also would this one tree be enough to get any syrup from?(29 Inches)

    Oh, and DO NOT freeze the sap to remove water. You will be throwing away a large chunk of sugar in the sap and also ruining the sap by freezing it. If you don't beleive me, split a batch down the middle, cook it say on a saturday while you freeze the other half. Then cook down the other half on Sunday after it sat frozen for a day. Then compare color and taste. You will find the first batch to be superior.

    1 reply

    Sometimes a layer of sap freezes in the bucket overnight and I've always tosses that out. Even if some sap gets frozen first, real maple syrup is far superior in taste to any pancake syrup available. And homemade maply syrup tastes better than the real maple syrup commercially produced and sold for almost $10/pint. Or maybe I just think it tastes better because of all the time I put into making it!

    if you use a tapered tap you don't need to seal the hole.the tree's soft tissue will expand and seal up the hole.have fun,this is a great spring project.

    1 reply

    My holes were a little too big and i couldn't find taps due to the fact that i live in southwestern PA.