How To Make Your Own Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is near and dear to the Midwest, and it reminds us of the sweet gifts that nature gives to us each year. We love maple syrup here at Duluth Pack because of the syrup’s significance in the region. Maple syrup is especially common in Canada, the Midwest, and the Northeast of the United States. Many of us have memories of eating pancakes or waffles on sleepy Sunday mornings with all-natural maple syrup. The syrup is just sweet enough to make your breakfast feel special and warm. Here at Duluth Pack, we want to teach you how to tap and make your own maple syrup, so you can always have some on hand for these types of mornings.
Preparing to Tap the Trees
Before you start tapping the maple trees in your yard, first make sure that it is the best season to tap trees. It is recommended that you tap trees during seasons where the nighttime is below freezing, and the daytime is above freezing. This means that the best time to tap trees for sap would be during late spring and early fall, especially in Minnesota. This is where the temperatures align best with getting the best quality and amount of sap.
Once you have determined that it is the best time to go tapping for sap, make sure you are prepared with all the right tools. Make sure you are staying warm with a good hat and gloves and are ready to easily tap trees with a drill and a bit that corresponds with your spout size. If you don’t want to use a drill, you can use a hammer to hammer your spout directly into the tree. You will also want to have a large bucket on hand to collect the sap. Bring all these tools to your desired tree(s).
Tapping the Trees and Collecting the Sap
When you've found your chosen tree(s) and you are ready to tap it, start by getting your bucket ready underneath where you want to put your spout. You then should choose where on the tree you want to tap, usually, it is recommended to place the spout 2 to 4 feet above the ground.
Drill where you would like the spout to go at a slight upwards angle so that the sap can freely flow through your spout. When you have sufficiently drilled the hole, add your spout. If you are using a hammer instead of a drill, you will still want to angle your spout at a slight upward angle.
To make maple syrup, you will need a significant amount of sap. It will most likely be even more than you initially imagined. To give you an idea, in order to make 1 pint (16 oz) of syrup, you will need 5 gallons of sap. Generally, a rule of thumb is that 40 parts maple sap equals to 1 part maple syrup, meaning in order to make a gallon of syrup you need 40 gallons of sap. You'll want to keep the spout in the tree for multiple days and check each day to change your bucket. While you are collecting the buckets of sap, you'll want to store the sap you have already collected in the freezer so that it does not spoil.
Making the Syrup
Now that you have collected all your sap, you are finally at the best part of the process—making the syrup! This process, compared to everything else, is quite easy. You’ll want to boil your sap at high heat in a pot, and once it is boiling bring the heat to medium-high. You should maintain a low boil for around an hour. The liquid should thicken considerably.
And you're done! After boiling the sap and creating a thick liquid, you can decant the syrup into a glass bottle with a funnel. Cap your bottles and enjoy it. Don't forget to date when the sap was made.
We also recommend checking out Crown Maple’s Guide to Syrup for more in-depth instructions on making maple syrup, as well as plenty of recipes to utilize your syrup after making it.
We hope you found this guide to making maple syrup useful, and that your meals will be just that much sweeter now that you can make your own.
Happy syrup-making, friends.