Maple Syrup–From Tree to Tummy … YUMMY!
Beauty, charm and strength — the Sugar Maple is a hardwood that embodies it all. Rising to heights of nearly 100 feet, the Sugar Maple expands its grace, spreading out its incomparable leaves to widths of 50 feet across.
It’s no wonder New York and Vermont have both adopted it as their state trees and Canada has adorned its national flag with the Sugar Maple’s incredible leaf.
A Show of Color like no other
If there are trees in heaven they’re probably Sugar Maples. Its autumn foliage stands out above all others in the landscape. That’s when the substantial green leaves morph to rich golds, bright yellows, then a burnt orange so vivid it almost glows.
The show of color ends with an unmatched deep red that will keep you looking forward to next fall. With a gorgeous array of brilliant colors, Sugar Maples make an exceptional roadside tree. So beautiful are the leaves that passersby may want to pull over for a longer look.
Don’t miss out on this year’s colors.
There is a specific way to approach planting, identifying, harvesting & processing Maple Trees for sugar or syrup and I will attempt to cover everything you need to know in this one blog. The source of information presented here comes from a plethora of sources through-out the internet, although I will rearrange it here in a more logical order to make sense.
The FIRST thing you will need to know is the ZONE you live in, so you are not wasting your time trying to do something that is not possible for your area.
Below is a chart with this information:
This chart is for the SUGAR MAPLE – this is the maple with the most sugar content in it’s sap, containing a 2 percent average sugar content. It takes nearly twice as much sap from other species is required to produce the same amount of maple syrup.
If you already have Maple Trees on your property, you will need to know how to tell what kind of Maple you have, as there are over 100 species of maple, genus Acer, existing throughout the world. About 14 of those are native to the United States.
Sugar, Red and Silver Maples are valued for their beauty but also for their sap, which can be rendered into maple syrup. Maples are similar in appearance, but a few characteristics set sugar maples apart. This requires you to look at the leaves &/or bark of the tree. Here is the information supplied By Robert Korpella, in his eHow article on how to tell the difference:
Things You’ll Need: Maple leaves
1 Examine the leaves on the tree, or those that have fallen below the tree. Sugar maple leaves are 3 to 5 inches long, are broad at the base and have five lobes. Notches between the lobes are rounded and the leaves have a slight wavy tooth pattern on the edges. The tops of sugar maple leaves are dark green, and the undersides are a paler shade of green. By contrast, both red and silver maple leaves are a paler green on top with whitish to silvery-white undersides. Silver maple leaves have three to five lobes with long points and noticeably toothy edges. Red maples have three broad lobes.
2 Look up at the branches to see if the tree has fruit, called samara. This fruit has a large seed with one or two wings to help the seed float to the ground. Sugar, red and silver maples all have two-winged samara, but the silver maple’s fruit matures in fall while the others do so in spring.
3 Determine if the maple tree has flowers in spring. Sugar maple flowers are nearly invisible, while red maples bear prominent red clusters and silver maples show greenish-yellow flowers.
4 Touch and study the bark. Young maple trees of each variety have light gray to brownish bark, smooth in appearance. Mature trees begin to differ, with sugar maples developing irregular plates of bark that often split away vertically. Silver maples develop a deeply furrowed bark that pulls loose in flakes. Red maples have a tighter bark, smooth and gray on stems, rough and brown on trunks of mature trees.
5 Estimate the size of the tree. Sugar maples grow taller than their cousins, often to heights of 60 to 100 feet with trunks that can exceed 3 feet in diameter. Silver and red maples are 40 to 60 feet tall. Red maple trunks are typically 1 to 2 feet in diameter, while silver maples have trunks closer to the size of sugar maples — 3 to 4 feet in diameter.
6 Observe the tree in autumn when fall colors are bright. Sugar maples display bright yellows, oranges and crimson hues. Red maples show a fiery red color. Silver maples turn yellow, sometimes orange or red, but the leaves brown before they fall from the tree.
How To Tell The Difference in the Winter: by Laura Hageman
Maple trees are used most often for landscaping. They grow tall and offer plenty of shade from the sun. Some of the most common types of maple trees are sugar, red, Norway, black, and silver. Maple tree leaves change color during the fall to bright colors such as yellow, red and orange. After the leaves have fallen, it can be more difficult to identify a maple tree.
1 Analyze the shape of the buds on the maple tree. Buds are noticeable during the winter and vary from round to egg-shaped. Black maple trees have egg-shaped buds. Silver maple trees have round buds. Red maple has oblong buds and silver maple has clusters of buds with blunt points.
2 Examine the bark of maple trees during the winter. Norway maple has grayish black bark with narrow ridges shaped like diamonds. Red maple bark is light gray and smooth textured. Sugar maple has bark that is dark grey with vertical smooth ridges.
3 Look at the color of the twigs of maple trees during the winter. Branches to many of the maple trees such as sugar, red, and Norway maples are reddish brown in color. Silver maple branches turn red during winter.
Tips & Warnings
Some of the more common maple trees can grow between 50 to 100 feet tall.
Sugar Maple Tree Bark
sugar_maple_bark-The bark on young trees is dark grey
Penny Porter says that while there are several characteristic to use to distinguish maple trees from other trees, some of these traits do not govern all maple species. Bark can be used to distinguish many types of maples from other trees and other maple species, especially during the winter when leaves and seeds are not available to assist in other identification methods.
Here are her tips on using bark to help identify what kind of maple you have already on your property:
1 Identify silver maple trees by examining the bark for a smooth texture and grayish-brown color. Bear in mind that silver maple tree bark grows darker as the tree ages and becomes furrowed with deep wrinkles that separate the bark into scaly, long flakes.
2 Classify the boxelder as a maple tree by seeking out trees with light brown or pale gray bark that has deep winkles that create broad furrows and rough, scaly ridges. You can also distinguish the boxelder from other maple species by their signature compound leaves that are marquis-shaped.
3 Distinguish the red maple species of trees from other maples by looking for bark that transforms from a smooth texture and light gray color to a rough texture and dark gray color. The bark of older red maple trees is also noticeable because it peels and flakes.
4 Label a maple as a sugar maple once you have discovered bark that starts smooth and grayish-brown on young trees and becomes thicker and darker as the tree ages. As the sugar maple tree ages, the bark will also become full of scaly, vertical ridges with deep creases in between.
5 Categorize the black maple species by identifying dark-gray bark with deep wrinkles that create irregularly shaped ridges. When sugar maples are nearby, you can distinguish the black maple by its darker, more furrowed surface in comparison to the sugar maple.
6 Examine a maple tree that begins its life with light brown and smooth bark that changes to a dark grayish-black color and you will identify the Norway maple tree. The Norway maple adult tree will have narrow, shallow ridges that form into diamond patterns between the furrowed grooves that appear as the tree ages.
Below are some additional links with pictures for more help with identifying your Maple Trees:
Sugar Maple Tree Identification
Southern Sugar Maple Tree
Sugar Maple trees(97) From Pinterest by Rod Wilson
How to Plant & Grow Sugar Maple Trees
Maple Tree Growing Zones
Be aware of the growing conditions for such a tree.
Sugar Maples are one of the few slow growing trees that are not poisonous to humans but, they cannot tolerate any weather or water condition under -47 degrees so, you need to determine where in the world that you live in order to have such a tree. In addition the ground must have a pH of 3.8 to 7.6 in order to grow successful and soil like this tends to be very coarse in its texture so the more coarse the dirt the better.
Sugar maple trees make effective shade trees when planted in the right place. They grow 50 to 100 feet high, making them appropriate for large landscapes. They are not native to the Rocky Mountains or the western U.S. due to high altitudes an low humidity, although gardeners may grow them successfully by providing extra care.
|Zone 2||-40 Degrees °F||to||-50 Degrees °F|
|Zone 3||-30 Degrees °F||to||-40 Degrees °F|
|Zone 4||-20 Degrees °F||to||-30 Degrees °F|
|Zone 5||-10 Degrees °F||to||-20 Degrees °F|
|Zone 6||-0 Degrees °F||to||+10 Degrees °F|
|Zone 7||+10 Degrees °F||to||0 Degrees °F|
|Zone 8||+20 Degrees °F||to||+10 Degrees °F|
|Zone 9||+30 Degrees °F||to||+20 Degrees °F|
|Zone 10||+40 Degrees °F||to||+30 Degrees °F|
A plant hardiness zone is a way to describe a geological area where the average low temperature in winter will fall within a certain range. Plants have a general range of preferred temperature in which they will grow. In terms of low temperature the plant may be damaged or die from being exposed to the low range of it’s preferred temperature zone.
Hardiness zone maps are a general way to identify the low temps in your area. You should speak to your local ag extension agent to find exact low temp ranges known to occur for your area.
Often a plant or tree will be able to survive an extreme low temp with some help. Mulch will protect roots and plastic, foam or fabric can help protect the trunk and/or upper part of a plant.
The wind chill and drying effects produced by winter winds is what does the most damage. A small amount of preparation on your part can help save your plants and trees.
In larger orchard operation the growers will use water/ice to protect their orchard as ice can act as a temporary shield to extreme low temps. Often the extreme lows will only last for short periods. This is what makes the water/ice work as a temporary shield. This is not practical for a home orchard so you should take care to plant trees that are known to survive in your area.
Many people tap sap from the sugar maple because of its high sugar content, which means you do not need as much to create maple syrup. This will also add beautiful fall colors to your garden.
Latin Name: This Sapindaceae (soapberry) family member has the Latin name of Acer saccharum.
Common Names: Though this is usually called by the name sugar maple, you may also see hard maple or rock maple.
Preferred USDA Hardiness Zones:
For best results, this tree should be planted in USDA Zones 3-8. It is native to eastern North America.
Size & Shape of the Sugar Maple:
This species will grow to be 50-80′ tall and 30-60′ wide, forming into a rounded shape.
Plant this in a location that receives full sun to full shade.
Foliage/Flowers/Fruit of the Sugar Maple:
The leaves are usually 3-6″ long with three to five lobes and will turn shades of orange, yellow or red in autumn.
The fruits form in winged pairs called samaras. Once they mature they will be papery and brown.
Design Tips For the Sugar Maple:
If you live in an area where salt is used to deice roads, do not use this as a street tree as this species does not tolerate salinity well. It also can struggle if there is a lot of pollution in the area or if placed in areas like planter strips where the roots are not able to spread.
Make sure you keep this adequately watered as it does not do well in drought. Create a watering system in your yard to make it easier.
Growing Tips For the Sugar Maple:
Do not tap the tree for sap once the buds appear. Learn more about making your own maple syrup. You can expect an average of 10 gallons per tap, and a tree can have up to three taps depending on the trunk diameter. It usually takes up to 50 gallons of sugar maple sap (depending on sugar content) to make one gallon of syrup. Whew!
Only prune if necessary at the end of summer or in fall to avoid problems with bleeding sap.
Pests & Diseases of the Sugar Maple:
Troubleshooting problems with your Sugar Maples: Some things you need to know~
What causes Maple Trees to Suddenly Die?
Unfortunately, maple trees are susceptible to a number of stresses and diseases that can result in tree death.
- Urban maple trees are often stressed by a lack of nutrients in disturbed soil and by damage from de-icing salts, according to the University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program. They also fall victim to fungal tree diseases such as anthracnose, Verticillium wilt and sapstreak disease.
- Nutrient-deprived trees have smaller leaves that may turn yellow or brown. Excessive concentrations of salt or chloride in salt-damaged trees causes leaf yellowing and branch die-off. The symptoms of anthracnose range from mild spotting to leaf blight. Verticillium wilt causes branch wilting, scorched leaves and small or yellow foliage. Sapstreak disease is particularly serious in sugarbush maples. It is characterized by stains on the roots and lower stems, poor leaf growth and sometimes sudden death.
- Avoid problems such as salt injury and nutrient imbalances by planting trees in appropriate sites and providing regular care and maintenance. Fungicides and tree maintenance help to lessen the effects of anthracnose and Verticillium wilt. Sapstreak is generally fatal; prevent the disease by minimizing root and stem damage to trees.
The previous information is from the following link, and there are several other links that go into more detail for further information.
Read more : http://www.ehow.com/facts_7234845_dying-maple-trees.html
You can also click this link for more Diseases of Sugar Maples
Possible diseases include:
- Butt rot (Ustulina vulgaris)
- Eutypella canker(Eutypella parasitica)
- Heart rots (Inonotus glomeratus and Hydnum septentrionale)
- Nectria canker (Nectria galligena)
- Root rot (Armillaria mellea)
- Sapstreak (Ceratocystis coerulenscens)
- Verticillium wilt, (Verticillium albo-atrum)
There should not be too many pest problems besides the possibility of bud damage. Some potential pests include:
- Aphids like the woolly alder aphid (Prociphilus tesselatus)
- Bruce span-worm (Operophtera bruceata)
- Bud miners (Obrussa ochrefasciella and Proteoteras moffatiana)
- Forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria)
- Gloomy scale (Melanaspis tenebricosa)
- Green-striped mapleworm (Anisota rubicunda)
- Leaf rollers
- Maple leaf-cutter (Paraclemensia acerifoliella)
- Maple phenacoccus (Phenacoccus acericola)
- Maple trumpet skeletonizer (Epinotia aceriella)
- Spring cankerworm (Paleacrita vernata)
- Professional landscapers plant balled-and-burlapped trees or container-grown sugar maples any time between early spring and fall. However, summer heat is hard on newly planted trees, so spring and fall are the best times to plant sugar maples. Plant trees in spring as soon as the ground is soft enough to work. Plant in fall at least four weeks before the first expected freeze to allow the roots time to become established before the ground freezes. Plant bare-root sugar maple trees in late winter before new leaves emerge.
- Buy sturdy, young sugar maple trees from a reputable grower. Look for bare-root trees with the roots wrapped in peat moss, plastic or burlap so they do not dry out. Avoid those with dried, mangled roots. Potted and balled-and-burlapped trees should stand tall without wobbling, which may indicate weak roots. Lift the potted tree out of the container slightly. Avoid trees with roots that wrap heavily in a circle. The roots may never stretch out and grow, but may slowly girdle and strangle the growing tree. Keep the roots moist and plant immediately after purchase. Soak the roots of bare-root trees in a bucket of water for two to three hours before planting.
Planting Sugar Maples
- Select a sunny location for the sugar maple tree with rich, well-drained soil. Sugar maples prefer a soil pH between 3.7 to 7.3. Amend soils with lime or sulfur if the pH falls outside of these ranges. Dig a hole three times as wide as the root ball and as deep. Place the soil in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp and add a small amount of compost, but no more than 20 percent of the total soil volume. Place the tree in the hole, making sure it stands straight. Fill the hole half full of soil, tamping down lightly with your foot. Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain. Add the rest of the soil, tamping down again.
- Stake the tree if it is planted in a very windy location, using soft twine and metal or wooden stakes. Water the tree at least weekly to help it recover from transplanting, and apply a wood chip mulch around the base of the tree and extending 3 feet from the tree to keep weeds down and conserve water.
2 Access the plants that are near by the tree. If you are planting Sugar Maples which is a slow growing tree this may not be toxic humans or animals but, this particularly hazardous to certain plants so, be aware of which plants that cannot be in a 100 ft inch of a Sugar Maple tree because then you will have a hard time keeping it alive.
Find the right place to grow the tree. If you think that you can line some beautiful Sugar Maples near a roadway or street you are sadly mistaken because they do not have a tolerance for compact soil, air pollution or road salt so, they will die in the process of growing if they are near a roadway. So try to find a spot that is limited in air pollution and the soils in not compact.
Make sure where you grow the tree has even light because these plants are very funny when it comes to sun light and they tend to lean wherever the sun is hitting them so, if you do not want to have a leaning tree make sure that the sunlight is even.
5 Determine the best time to plant such a tree. If you start in the months April and May by the last of summer you will have a beautiful tree if you are planting in the months September or October if they survive the winter in the spring season you will have a gorgeous tree.
6 Be patient. It takes time for these trees to grow into the maximum height of 100 feet so, in time they’ll will grow and when they do you’ll probably will never see that maximum height but, you’ll know when it does it was all you.
Tapping, Collecting/Harvesting Trees
The following information is from http://tapmytrees.com and though I do not normally copy and paste directly from other sites, the information they share is essential for successful harvesting & production, and so will be included here in it’s entirety to save going from one site to another.
Tap Maple Trees at Home – Preparation
As with any endeavor, preparation is critical. It is important you are prepared with the knowledge of which trees in your yard are maples and that you have the necessary equipment. Do this before the sap starts to flow (sap flow typically begins in February or March).
The most effective way to identify maple trees is to create a map of your yard and record each type of tree (or at least the maples). If you try to tap an Oak tree, you will be greatly disappointed in the results. A great joke in Canada refers to tapping telephone poles, with the result being Pole Syrup (also known as imitation syrup such as Aunt Jemima® or Mrs. Butterworth’s®). The ideal time to prepare this map is in the Summer or Fall, when the leaves are still on the trees. If your trees have already lost their leaves, your maple trees can be identified based on other characteristics (see below links to commonly tapped maple trees). Identifying the type of maple tree is also important, as certain maples contain a higher sugar content, which will be described in later sections.
The most commonly tapped maple trees are Sugar, Black, Red, and Silver Maples. Click on the link of each tree for a detailed description of how to identify the tree. *(or refer to the information above in this article).
While this site is focused on tapping your Maple trees, other types of trees can be tapped to collect sap, including Birch and Walnut trees.
Obtain your equipment early, as supplies may become limited when the sap is flowing (that is the time of year everyone is purchasing equipment). The equipment needed to tap your trees can be grouped into two sections, equipment specific to tap the tree; and other general equipment (which you typically already own).
Equipment to Tap Trees
- Buckets: Used to collect the sap as it drips from the spile.
- Lids: Attached to the top of the bucket to prevent rain, snow, and foreign material from entering the bucket.
- Drill Bit: Depending upon the type of spile used, either a 5/16 or 7/16 drill bit is used to drill the tap hole into your maple tree.
- Spiles: The spile (or tap) is inserted into the drilled hole to transfer sap into the bucket.
- Hooks: Hooks are attached to the spile and used to hang the bucket.
- Cheesecloth: Used to filter any solids (such as pieces of bark) when transferring sap from the collection bucket to a storage container.
This equipment can be purchased on this site. Complete kits are offered in two varieties, with plastic buckets/lids or metal buckets/lids. The option to use plastic or metal is mainly a personal preference. The advantage of plastic buckets/lids is they will not dent or corrode. Metal buckets/lids create a more nostalgic image. We also offer a Spiles Kit with 4 spiles/hooks and step-by-step instructions.
Other General Equipment Needed
- Maple Trees: At a minimum, you need access to one mature (at least 12 inches in diameter), healthy maple tree. Many different types of maple trees can be tapped to collect sap, including Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Red Maple, and Silver Maple.
- Drill: A cordless drill is preferable, but a corded electric drill can be used with a properly insulated extension cord (long enough to reach the tree).
- Hammer: Used to gently tap the spile into the tap hole.
- Pliers: Used to remove the tap from the tree once the sap season is over.
- Storage Containers: Food grade storage containers are used to store your collected sap. Clean plastic milk jugs or juice containers may be used. You can also use food grade 5 gallon buckets. Your local deli or donut shop may provide these free of charge as they often receive their ingredients in such containers.
- Sap Processing Equipment: Depending upon how you decide to utilize your sap, additional equipment may be needed. For example, if you would like to make maple syrup, additional equipment is required. For small scale production, you can generally use items already available at home (refer to Collect Sap & Make Syrup section for details on making maple syrup).
Tap Maple Trees at Home – Tapping Trees
Generally the sap starts to flow between mid-February and mid-March. The exact time of year depends upon where you live and weather conditions. Sap flows when daytime temperatures rise above freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit / 0 Celsius) and nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. The rising temperature creates pressure in the tree generating the sap flow. This is basically a transfer of the sap from the tree above the ground and the root system below the ground. The sap generally flows for 4 to 6 weeks, with the best sap produced early on in the sap-flowing season.
Now is the time to pull out that yard map where you have identified your maple trees, including the type of maple tree. The recommended order in selecting your maple trees to yield a higher sugar content is: Sugar, Black, Red, Silver. Select trees that are mature (at least 12 inches in diameter) and healthy. That tree on the edge of your driveway healing from a direct car hit is not an ideal candidate for tapping. Additionally, select trees with the greatest exposure to sunlight. If you have a limited number of maples available, you can tap a particular tree two or tree times, depending upon its size. Using these guidelines, a healthy tree will support multiple taps:
Greater than 27 inches
Number of Taps
Clean spiles, bucket, and lids prior to use each season. With a mixture of 1 part unscented household bleach (such as Clorox® Regular-Bleach) to 20 parts clean water, use a brush or cloth to scrub your supplies. Triple rinse all with hot water.
Now the excitement starts. The weather conditions are ideal and you are headed out to the yard to tap your first tree. Take your drill (with bit attached), hammer, spiles, hooks, buckets, and lids. Don’t forget your camera to capture the moment.
The height of the tap hole should be at a height that is convenient for you and allows easy collection. A height of about 3 feet is recommended. If the tree has been tapped in previous seasons, do not tap within 6 inches of the former tap hole. Ideally, the tap hole should be above a large root or below a large branch on the south side of the tree. If more than one tap is to be placed in the same tree, distribute the tap holes around the circumference of the tree. Be sure to avoid any damaged area of the tree.
Drill the tap hole: The size of the drill bit to be used is dependent on the type of spile you are using. Most spiles require either a 7/16 or 5/16 bit. Drill a hole 2 to 2 ½ inches deep. It may be helpful to wrap a piece of tape around the drill bit 2 ½ inches from the tip to use as a guide. Drill at a slight upward angle to facilitate downward flow of sap from the hole. The shavings from the drilled tap hole should be light brown, indicating healthy sapwood. If the shavings are dark brown, drill another hole in a different location.
Inserting the Spile: Clear any wood shavings from the edge of the hole. Insert the spile into the loop on the hook (hook facing outward), and then insert the spile into the tap hole. Gently tap the spile into the tree with a hammer (do not pound the spile into the tree, as this may cause the wood to split). If the sap is flowing, you should immediately see sap dripping from the spile.
Hang the bucket by inserting the hook into the hole on the rim of the bucket. Attach the lid to the spile by inserting the metal wire into the double holes on the spile.
Congratulations, you have successfully tapped your first maple tree. Send us a picture!
Collect Sap & Make Syrup
Depending upon the weather conditions, sap will start to flow immediately after tapping the tree. It drips from the spile into the bucket. Maple sap is a clear fluid and resembles water. The collection amount may vary. Some days you will collect only a small amount and other days your buckets will overflow if not emptied.
Here is a quick video HOW TO :
Use only food grade containers to store your collected sap. Clean plastic milk jugs or juice containers may be used. You can also use 5 gallon buckets (food grade quality). Your local deli or donut shop may provide these free of charge, as they often receive their ingredients in these containers. Be sure all containers are thoroughly cleaned using a mixture of one part unscented household bleach (such as Clorox® Regular-Bleach) to 20 parts clean water. Scrub the containers and triple rinse with hot water.
When sap is flowing, collect the sap daily. Pour the sap from the bucket into a storage container, using cheesecloth to filter out any foreign material. If a portion of the sap is frozen, throw away the frozen sap.
The sap should be stored at a temperature of 38 degrees F or colder, used within 7 days of collection and boiled prior to use to eliminate any possible bacteria growth. If there is still snow on the ground, you may keep the storage containers outside, located in the shade, and packed with snow. You can also store the sap in your refrigerator, or for longer term storage, in your freezer. Remember that sap is like milk, it will spoil quickly if not kept cold.
Treat sap like any other nutrient taken directly from nature to include in your diet. When you pick berries in a field, they can be eaten directly from the bush; however, it is generally a good idea to wash them first. Many drink sap straight from the collection bucket, but it is highly recommended you boil your sap prior to any use to kill bacteria that may be present. To effectively kill bacteria, bring the sap to a rolling boil and then let it boil one additional minute.
Maple Sap: Many believe that drinking maple sap is a way to energize the body after a long winter.
In South Korea, the drinking of sap is linked to a wide range of health benefits. Here is an interesting NY Times article about the use of maple sap in South Korea.
Maple sap can also be used to make coffee / tea, brew beer, and in just about any recipe calling for water (to add a subtle sweet, maple flavor).
The most common use of maple sap is to process it into maple syrup. To make maple syrup, the excess water is boiled from the sap.
It takes 40 parts maple sap to make 1 part maple syrup (10 gallons sap to make 1 quart syrup). Because of the large quantity of steam generated by boiling sap, it is not recommended to boil indoors.
If you do decide to boil the sap indoors, make only small batches and ensure good ventilation (and keep an eye that your wallpaper does not peel off the walls).
If you boil outdoors, make certain you are in compliance with any local regulations.
Fire safety must be your highest priority, especially when young children are present. Below is one method for boiling your sap.
A small pit is dug, using bricks to secure the walls of the pit. Metal bars are secured over the fire to support the pot. A fire is built in the pit with dried, split wood. As it will take several hours to boil your sap into syrup, a sufficient wood supply is required.
Other options include an outdoor grill, the kitchen stove (for small batches), an indoor wood stove, or even an outdoor fryer (like the ones used to deep fry a turkey). If boiling indoors, keep in mind that this process will generate a lot of steam.
Boiling the sap:
Fill a flat pan or large pot (a “lobster” pot is used in this example) ¾ full with sap. Place the pot onto the heat source. Once the sap starts to boil down to ¼ – ½ the depth of the pot, add more sap, but try to maintain the boil. If the sap is boiling over the edges of the pot, a drop of vegetable oil or butter wiped onto the edge of the pot will reduce this.
Transfer to smaller pot:
The boiling sap will take on a golden color. Once the sap has “mostly” boiled down, but still has a very fluid texture, it is time to transfer the sap into a smaller pot. The outdoor heat source should be fully extinguished at this point.
Complete the boiling:
Once transferred to the smaller pot, the final boiling can be completed indoors. Continue to boil the sap until it takes on a consistency of syrup. One way to check for this is to dip a spoon into the sap / syrup – syrup will “stick” to the spoon as it runs off. It is important to watch the boiling sap very closely as it approaches syrup, since it is more likely to boil over at this point. If you have a candy thermometer, finish the boil when the temperature is 7 degrees F above the boiling point of water. Note that the boiling point of water differs based on your elevation.
Filtering the syrup:
A small amount of sediment will be present in your syrup. This can be filtered out of your sap using a food grade filter. A coffee filter is suitable to filter a small amount of sap at a time. After letting the syrup cool, pour a small amount into a coffee filter, collect the top ends of the filter into a bunch, and press the syrup through the filter into a clean container (such as a measuring cup). Depending upon how much syrup is produced, this will need to be repeated several times (using a new filter each time). For larger batches, a wool or orlon filter can be used. You can also remove the sediment by allowing the syrup to stand overnight in the refrigerator, letting the sediment settle to the bottom.
Bottle your syrup:
Sterilize a bottle and cap (or multiple bottles and caps depending upon how much syrup you have produced) in boiling water. Pour the sediment free syrup into the bottle, cap, and refrigerate.
Your refrigerated syrup should be used within 2 months. Syrup can also be frozen (in a freezer safe container) to extend shelf life.
When the temperature remains above freezing or buds start to form on the tree, it is time to stop collecting sap.
All good things come to an end, and the sap flow is no exception. Once the temperature consistently remains above freezing and buds start to form on your maple trees, it is time to stop collecting. At this point, remove the taps, clean your equipment, and store your equipment for next year.
Remove lid and bucket from the spile. With a pair of pliers, firmly grab hold of the spile and pull out of the tree.
Prior to placing in storage it is essential to clean all your equipment. Making a mixture of one part unscented household bleach (such as Clorox® Regular-Bleach) to 20 parts clean water, use a brush or cloth to scrub your equipment. Triple rinse with hot water.
Store your supplies in a dry location, free from dust.
If you would like to purchase your supplies from the previous site, here is a link to their specific page:
Turning your Maple syrup into sugar is called Maple sugaring and Backyard Chickens has this information
Maple Sugaring: Making Granulated Maple Sugar
Trying to be as self-sufficient in as many areas as possible this is a backyard Maple Sugaring set-up built using some old commercial equipment purchased real cheap. It’s a small homesteading operation that provides more than enough maple syrup and maple candy for yearly needs and for those of many others. It’s a very easy process and the results are a beautiful and tasty granulated sugar.
taken from The North American Maple Syrup Producers’ Manual—page 188
Loose Granulated Maple Sugar
Granulated maple sugar (sometimes called stirred sugar or Indian sugar) is prepared by heating maple syrup until the temperature is 45˚ to 50˚F (25˚ to 28˚C) above the boiling point of water. It is then allowed to cool to about 200˚F (93˚C), and stirred either in the cooking vessel or in an appropriately sized container until granulation is achieved. Stirring can be done by hand or by using a mechanical stirring machine. Granulated sugar will “breathe” and ride up high in the pan as it is stirred. A pause in stirring will cause it to drop back down again; after which stirring can be resumed. Stirring continues until all moisture is essentially removed from the cooked syrup and crumbly, granulated sugar remains, similar to commercially packaged brown sugar. At this point the sugar is sifted through a coarse screen (1/8-inch or 3mm hardware cloth is commonly used) to make a uniformly sized product. Stainless steel sieves with handles are available at restaurant supply stores. Granular sugar absorbs moisture and should quickly be stored in dry, airtight containers. A quart of syrup will yield about 2 pounds of granulated sugar; a liter of syrup about 1 kg of granulated sugar. Lighter colored (lower invert) syrup tends to make a “drier” finished product than if darker syrup is used.
First, heat your Maple Syrup to the boiling point of water plus 45° F. – 50° F.
If the boiling point of water where you are is 212° F.
You will heat your Maple Syrup to be between 257° F and 262° F.
I’ve reached my temperature target zone: 260° F.
Into the mixer…
The mixer is doing all the hard work.
You can see the consistency of the syrup is really starting to change.
It’s lightening up and beginning to have that nice maple color.
It’s about ready to vaporize!
When the syrup begins the final phase of turning into sugar
you’ll have an explosion of steam as the water begins to evacuate.
The first time this happened to me I thought the motor on my mixer was on fire!
The last of the water is coming out now.
When there’s no more steam rising, you’re finished.
Notice the clumpy granulation.
It’s about the consistency of store bought brown sugar but not as sticky.
Spread out and cooling down.
Sifting it into a little finer granulation.
A bowl full of sugar…
Finally, let your maple sugar cool completely down before packaging.
Maple Syrup & Granulated Maple Sugar
under the watchful eye of Knutz!
Cooking with Maple Syrup
Replace Sugar with Maple Syrup in Your Cooking
Maple syrup is a well known sugar substitute among those who strive to use less refined sugar. This is because maple syrup has many properties that are good for the body, making it a sweetener plus a healthy boost.
With antioxidants that support the body’s immune system and heart health as well as several beneficial vitamins and minerals, maple syrup is a great sugar substitute in any recipe. The conversion of maple syrup versus cane sugar in recipes can vary depending on the recipe, but typically one cup of white sugar can be replaced with 2/3 to ¾ cup of maple syrup.
By replacing sugar with maple syrup in your cooking, the sweetness is still very much present. Maple syrup is around three times as sweet as regular sugar with fewer calories.
Another interesting benefit to using maple syrup in cooking is that it has a low glycemic index, making it an ideal sweetener for those who suffer from diabetes.
Organic maple syrup is very nearly a super food, with vitamins and minerals and antioxidants already inside and sweet on top of all that. By choosing organic maple syrup, you are ensuring the purity of the product as well as the sustainability of the growing process the maple syrup comes from.
Maple syrup can be used in the place of sugar for just about any recipe, for it is just a matter of learning the substitution ratio.
- To replace white sugar with maple syrup in general cooking, it is ideal to use ¾ cup of maple syrup for every one cup of sugar.
- When it comes to baking, that same amount is used but also be sure to reduce the amount of overall liquid in the recipe by about three tablespoons for each cup of maple syrup substituted.
- In order to replace honey with maple syrup in cooking, it is an even switch—one tablespoon of maple syrup for one tablespoon of honey, and so forth.
- It is a good idea to turn your oven temperature down about 25 degrees from the original cooking temperature when trading maple syrup for sugar in a recipe. This is because the maple syrup caramelizes at a lower temperature than sugar does.
Replacing sugar with maple syrup in your cooking can be a great adventure. Take the time to experiment and learn how the maple syrup can best enhance the recipe at hand, for cooking healthy can be fun as well as tasty.
We offer the following guide when using Maple Syrup in your recipes.
|Instead of 1 cup granulated sugar use:||Reasons|
|Use 3/4 – 1 1/2 cup maple syrup||Because maple syrup is less sweet than granulated sugar. If you like your recipes sweeter use the larger amount of syrup. If you prefer less sweet use the lesser amount.|
|Decrease liquid by 2 to 4 tablespoons per 1 cup syrup used.||Maple syrup contains more moisture than the granulated sugar which the recipe called for.|
|Add 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda*||Maple syrup has a slight acidity which needs to be neutralized for the batter to rise and form properly. * Do not add baking soda if the recipe calls for buttermilk, sour milk, or sour cream since these liquids do the same thing.|
|Decrease oven by 25º||Maple syrup will tend to caramelize and burn on the top and edges before a batter using a solid sweetener like sugar.|
Indian Sugar (Maple Granulated Sugar)
When substituting Indian sugar for granulated sugar the conversion rate is to use 1/2 cup Indian sugar for each 1 cup of granulated sugar.
- To substitute for sugar in cooking, generally use only 3/4 cup Maple Syrup to each cup of sugar.
- To substitute Maple Syrup for granulated sugar in baking, use the same proportions, but reduce the other liquid called for in the recipe by about 3 tablespoons for every cup of syrup substituted.
One pint of Maple Syrup has the same sweetening power as one pound of Maple Sugar.
When experimenting with your own recipes using maple Syrup as a substitute for granulated sugar it is a good idea to record the amounts of maple syrup used, the amount that the liquid was decreased by, and the temperature of the oven. This well allow you to make adjustments in the amounts, if needed, in the future.
Method of mixing
Combine syrup with liquid in recipe or melt shortening, then mix thoroughly with liquid shortening.
Here is a pdf file with conversion information:
Cornell Maple bulletin 2007 Replacing Table Sugar with Maple Sugar
Canning tips you may not see in the manual
with assistance from Lindsay Seaman
Lindsay has been canning & preserving food for over 25 years, so the tips she gained through trial & error
are very helpful to avoid some of the same pitfalls.
Lindsay Seaman is a staff writer for Eartheasy.
Extending your harvest throughout the winter can be a daunting & confusing task, but canning is an efficient way to preserve summer’s bounty.
There are two basic types of canners, and knowing which one to use can save you frustration & loss:
- ‘water bath’ for high acid foods like jams, fruit and tomatoes,
- ‘pressure canners’ for low acid foods like most vegetables, meat and fish.
Canning is a precision process with emphasis on sterilization and cleanliness.
You will want to have a recently published home canning book, some good ones being from Ball, Kerr (well known sources of canning supplies), and the US Department of Agriculture. Your pressure canner will also come with a reliable manual.
Be sure to read all instructions before starting.
Even though you follow the instructions carefully, you can still make mistakes.
The following tips may help, and they apply to both water bath and pressure canning.
Tips from Lindsay
Lay out all the equipment and ingredients before starting food preparation.
Try using the dishwasher to preheat your jars
Canning jars must be clean and hot before filling. You can pour hot water into the jars to preheat them, but it is convenient to time your dishwasher load so the hot jars are ready when you need them. Preheating the jars prevents them from breaking when filled with hot foods and hot additives like syrup.
Avoid placing hot jars on cold surfaces
When removing processed jars, place on tea towels or layered newspapers. I like the newspapers because it easier to clean up the mess afterwards. Never put freshly processed jars on a cold surface, or they may break.
Don’t ‘clunk’ the jars
Make sure not to ‘clunk’ or tap hot jars together when removing them from the canner because hot glass breaks easily. As a general rule, be gentle with the jars throughout the process.
Avoid drafts when removing jars
Canning is a hot business and the temptation is to open all the windows. This is fine until you take the jars out of the canner. Then, you should consider closing nearby windows and doors because a cool draft can break a hot glass jar.
Use a footstool if necessary when removing jars from canner
Ideally, the bottom of a pressure canner should be about waist height. This is so you can see inside and have good control when lifting the jars out of the canner. If you are short, you may want to use a footstool for easier and safer jar removal.
Let it be
Once you’ve set the glass jars on the counter, avoid moving them, as this may interrupt the sealing process. Be patient, as the lids may take a long time to seal. A sealed jar usually has a visible indentation of the lid.
Store it cool, dry and dark
Store processed jars in a cool (50 – 70 degrees F), dry and shady place for best results. In our home, we store jars under the kids’ beds and other indoor locations that won’t freeze.
Consider using a magnetic lid lifter
The jar lids must be preheated in hot water before using. They can be tricky to lift out to set on the jars. Tongs will work, but magnetic lid lifters (wands) will make it easier.
Label everything meticulously
Use a permanent marker to label lids with the month, day and year. This helps you keep track of different batches, rotate your stock and identify batches for comparison purposes.
Success breeds success. By following these tips and recording your own, you will feel encouraged to pursue the art of home canning in future seasons, and make home food preservation part of your family culture.
TIPS from Others:
- If the kitchen is drafty or you have a window open you can still take jars out of the canner–just slip them under a bath towel as quickly as possible.
- Don’t store sealed jars with the bands on them as the bands trap moisture and may become stuck or moldy.
- After jars have completely cooled and sealed, give them a bath in warm soapy water to remove any residue from stuff that may have leaked into the canner water. This prevents sticky moldy jars in the pantry.
- After you empty your jars, wash them and store upside-down in the boxes to keep them clean until next season's canning. You will still have to wash them before canning, but at least they will be free of dead bugs from your basement 🙂
Here’s another tip to check if the jars are sealed.
After they’ve cooled (give them a day) take a pen or pencil and tap the center of each lid. You’ll notice the difference in sound as you tap.Sealed jars make a ping like note. Unsealed jars make a plunk. So you’ll hear a ping, ping, ping, plunk. The plunk is the one not sealed.
Hi I was wondering if anyone has tried canning homemade tomato soup with noodles in it.
I make a hamburger, macaroni, and tomato soup that I would love to can.
I’m not sure if I would use my pressure canner of hot water canner. Any advice.
- Greg Seaman
- You should use the pressure canner if you will be including meat in the soup.
- Also, it is common to add a bit of lemon juice when canning tomatoes, about 1 tablespoon per pint. You can add it bit of sugar to offset the citrus as an option.
- You should consult a good reference (the USDA is an excellent reference for canning) because different foods have different storage characteristics.
The quality can go down over several years, but we find that the canned foods rarely spoil.