Boiling Sap To Make Maple Syrup
In February of 2012 my brother Dan and neighbor John and I tapped our Maple trees in our front yard here in Minnesota. You don’t need to live in the country or on a farm to enjoy the hobby of collecting sap and making maple syrup. The equipment needed is also inexpensive and you can do all this in your suburban backyard.
I’m not going into how to tap the trees or collect the sap in the post but you can read my previous post to learn how to do that here. Collecting Sap This post is about boiling the sap until it turns into maple syrup.
To start we should talk about how much sap is going to be needed. To get a gallon of syrup you are going to need around 40 gallons of sap. What we have found is 10 gallons is a good amount of sap to start with and an average person could easily boil down that 10 gallons, strain it and finish it off in an afternoon.
Maple sugar boils 7 degrees higher then water so here in Minnesota the boiling point of water is 212 F so the end temperature we are aiming at is around 219 F.
Boiling Sap Over Fire-Favorite Method
Boiling sap over an open fire is my favorite method for a couple of reasons. The first being the cost, we were able to get all the wood for free. We used pallets and wood from a neighbors tree that fell during a storm. We just used our fire ring in the backyard and placed sign post across the pit and this is where the boiling pots sit on. You do have to maintain the fire and make sure the sap is boiling but that is half the fun. We make it an event and start early on a Saturday or Sunday and boil all day.
Boiling Sap Using Propane & Turkey Fryer
Propane & Turkey Fryer Method
This is the way we boil our sap most of the time. Using propane is easy to control the heat, it’s clean, and you can do this on your driveway. The drawback is the cost of the propane and the initial cost of the turkey fryer. We have also used a portable Coleman camping stove that uses the disposable propane tanks and it works great for small batches but not very efficient.
Finish It On The Stove
After an afternoon of boiling down 10 gallons of sap you will end up only getting a few pints of syrup so a medium sized pan that you would boil spaghetti noodles in would be fine. You will now you are getting close by the smell and thickness of the syrup. We strain the sap once through cheese cloth, we have used t-shirts and coffee filters too. Once filtered we finish it on the stove. Once it hits around 218 F we pull it off the heat and put it in jars. This last phase requires practice and just doing it. We messed up many batches and had some turn rock solid. It’s about having fun and getting outside.