It's that time again

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by mistletoad, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No, not taxes - maple tapping time! We just came in from tapping a few trees and things are flowing nicely. We did this for the first time last year and I have to recommend it to anyone with cold nights and access to maple trees.
    Is anyone else tapping yet?
     
  2. FrankTheTank

    FrankTheTank Well-Known Member

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    I would love to try it...i'm in Southwest WI and last year they had a big write up about a local guy who taps his trees ... I have a maple right next to the house but it isn't the kind for syrup...I remember reading that you want to boil it outside and to not wear your Sundays best clothing...hints, tips, websites? i've got 60acres that i could rummage through for suitable trees...thanks
     

  3. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We don't have any sugar maples either, but you can tap any type. We tap red maples, it takes more sap to make syrup, but it's still really good stuff at the end. We did ten trees last year and got about 2 pints of syrup. We bought spiles from Bascom Maple in NH, but I expect you could find some closer to home (they only cost about a $1 each). We collect the sap in empty milk jugs (well washed). You need to tap when days are above freezing but nights are below. We boil it off using an outdoor turkey fryer - we bought a fish fry pan for it that is sort of shallow and wide (so it evaporates better). We need a better method of filtering - used cheescloth last year but there was still a little sediment.
    Here's a link with proper instructions:
    http://www.mi-maplesyrup.com/Activities/activities_homemade.htm

    Here's a picture of the very first tree we tapped, so you can see the spiles and how we hang the jugs:
    [​IMG]
     
  4. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Wow.. we won't be tapping for a few more weeks..

    Hmm... maybe my ram lambs don't have some loathsome parasite but really can feel spring coming on and that's why they're shedding their wool!
     
  5. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We don't get to do this for long and we have to get in early - we are in southern Maryland, not exactly an area people think of when they think syrup! lol
     
  6. FrankTheTank

    FrankTheTank Well-Known Member

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    Man...today was 40F and tonight is suppose to be 26f...how long does the these season last?
     
  7. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to try sometime, but don't don't have a Maple tree anywhere in Richmond, let alone our land. I can almost taste that syrup on pancakes!
     
  8. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    i remember when i lived around sugar bush vt. now they tap looked like miles of hose and that warm sap hm hm good
     
  9. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    and in st. albans vt. they have the festival every year a lot of fun well i hope they still have it
     
  10. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Well-Known Member

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    We are in SE PA and are waiting for our taps which should be here by Monday. We decided to try it this year and are missing prime time right now! We have 2 sugar maples brought home from NE PA by FIL many years ago and many red maples, so we decided to try it. Can you just use Orlon or wool material in a funnel for a filter or what? I am so mad that I waited to order taps, but maybe we will get a try this year and then go on from there. It has been so many years since I've tasted real Maple syrup, that I have no idea what it's like! I still have to find a suitable pan to boil it in. Is it hard not to scorch it when cooking it off? How do you tell when the season is over (dumb question) I read that the sap starts to taste "buddy". Wow, I am glad to hear about someone else doing this.
     
  11. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    Do you think I could tap the sweet gum trees growing in Central Alabama?

    :no: :confused: :no:
     
  12. dave98

    dave98 Member

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    Yes,

    I'd also like to hear about tapping what I call "Sweet Gum" or "Gum Ball Tree's" that grown in the South.

    Dave
     
  13. Blackthorne

    Blackthorne Member

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    Frank - what is the name of the local guy who does the syrup? I am also in SW WI and we have a local guy who has made quite a name for himself with the syrup he makes. I pass one of their remote gathering tanks on the way to work, but nothing started yet. Usually late Feb in to March here for the sap.
     
  14. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I got a note back from Bascom and they said I should use a synthetic filter because those are washable and to wash it with baking soda not soap. Sort of helpful, but I was hoping they would try to sell me something! lol
    I did the ordering of taps at the last minute last year and I ordered a few more today (why do I never think of this on time?). We stopped last year when my nose started itching - I get such bad hayfever from maples that I know when they are going to bud. I have read the sap changed color then too, but we had one tree giving out yellowish sap the whole time last year and it didn't seem to affect the taste. DH says you can see the buds start to swell.
    Cooking it down wasn't hard at all - we brought it to a good boil and poured more sap in as soon as the level started to drop. We used a candy thermometer to keep a check on the temp and added sap if it looked like it was getting too hot. I still don't quite understand the part about "ready when it boils at 7 degrees above the boiling point of water" - seems to me if you boil anything (excet water) long enough the temp goes up, so we put it to a low boil and tested it like making jam until we had the consistency we thought it should be. I have since read that a gal of syrup should weigh 11 lbs - not that I expect we will get that much, but I will weigh it to double check things. We did the finishing indoors.
    I brought in a whopping 81 oz last night and thought I would get some more this morning - more had collected but everything is frozen solid and it started to snow, I don't think there will be a flow today.
     
  15. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    There are a couple growing close to the house site on our new land we're moving to soon. Removing them are on the to-do list, unless I can make syrup with them.
     
  16. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks mistletoad, my DH made the same comment about don't you quit when it gets like syrup???? I hope we get our taps by tomorrow. Do you store the sap in a plastic trash can til you get enough to boil down? It's great hearing how someone else is doing this. Can't wait to tap a tree and give it a try. So you just use any synthetic materail for the filter?? Thanks again for the info.
     
  17. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Gonna be several more weeks before we can tap here in Maine. Put up two gallons last year, but we're going to try to at least double that this year. Started making our own apple cider last fall and found out how good hot apple cider and maple syrup is :D And we also want to try to make some soft maple candy this year. And DW bought some fancy bottles and wants to put some up for Christmas gifts. I guess I better shoot for at least five gallons.