I have had MANY friends the past few days ask me, "Just how DO you make Maple Syrup?" It's REALLY not that difficult really, so here is my 5-second lesson on making maple syrup.
Tools: A drill driver with appropriate sized drill bit, a tap for the hole, a hammer, a container to collect the sap in (milk jug), plastic tubing, wire to secure the container to the spout and something to cut the wire/tubing with. You probably have most of this laying around the house!
Types of trees to tap: The best tree to tap is of course a Sugar Maple Tree however Black, Red and Silver Maple trees also work - I tapped Sugar maple trees and Black maple Trees!
Steps to Making Maple Syrup:
1) Drill a small hole approx 4' up the trunk above a root or below a tree limb. I used a 3/8" bit or a 1/2" drill bit.
2) Insert a tap.
3) Attach a hose and container to collect the sap!
The hardest part of making maple Syrup is the processing - in general it takes 40 gallons to boil down to 1 gallon of syrup. No wonder REAL Maple Syrup is so expensive.
The sap will be mostly clear as you can see in the photo of it in the measuring cup. Once you have a bunch collected it's time to cook it.
It's best to boil down the sap every day to avoid spoilage. This year I boiled it on the stove using a low-sided larger container (in my case I used my roasting pan!). You need to keep boiling and boiling until most of the water is boiled out - Then once water is boiled out you'll need to bring the temperature of the syrup is 219-degrees. It will become a sticky amber colored liquid that will be a bit thinner than Mrs. Butterworth's!
I double strain the Maple Syrup while it's hot and put it into canning jars - It needs to be HOT to can otherwise you can put it into the fridge once it's cooled to use in relatively short order! Use the best food safety precautions when canning your syrup.
We'll store it until we ate it!!!