Maple Syrup 2020 Season- OH SO GOOD!
It’s late February and the days are finally getting above freezing, which means it’s time to get our Taps in for collecting Sap and boiling down to Maple Syrup. Compared to previous years we are two weeks early, but we are ready and we have our taps in.
How To Collect Sap
Our land is a valley with 50 degree sloped hills. So we can take advantage of gravity feed lines dumping into a collector container. The tubing is 5/16” semi-rigid flexible CDL four season blue food grade, which is easy to clean and reuse the following year.
With the 50 degree sloped hills it makes the job much easier as we limit our hauling and walking these slippery hills. But with multiple trees feeding into a container the containers do fill up quickly so you need to keep on top of it.
Gallons of Sap vs A Gallon of Syrup
The amount of Sap needed to boil down and produce one gallon of Syrup depends on the Sugar content in the Sap. The sugar content is based on a number of variables such as the type of tree you tap (Maple, Walnut, Birch, etc..). Here we tap only Maples trees, but even Maple Trees are different and contain different levels of sugar content (%).
So on average, for making one gallon of great tasting Maple Syrup you will need between 35 and 40 gallons of Sap. The best way to really know how many gallons you will need is to measure the sugar content of the sap using a Maple Sap Hydrometer. Based on the Jones Rule you then take 86 and divide it by your sugar content. On my trees I get 2.3%, so 86 divided by 2.3 is 37.4 gallons of sap for one gallon of Maple Syrup.
How Many Trees Do I need To Tap To Make One Gallon Of Maple Syrup
This is not an easy question to answer since there are many variables to consider, such as the size of the tree, the season, and of course the sugar content in the Sap. So this will be a rough estimate, but it should be close.
One Tree – If you have a Maple Tree that is 30 inches or more you can get plenty of Sap during the season to make a gallon of Maple Syrup. But you will need to store it in a cold area until you have enough or it will spoil. A tree this size could have 2 or 3 taps and larger trees 4 taps.
Multiple Trees – If your trees are less than 30 inches, lets say between 12 and 20 inches then you will need 3 to 6 trees to tap, using only 1 tap per tree. Again you will need to store your Sap until you have enough to boil.
Boiling Down Sap For Making A Small Amount Of Maple Syrup
For making a small amount of Maple Syrup for yourself or family members you do not need a custom evaporator or even any hydrometers. I show this in my video, just use a home made evaporator and/or a turkey cooker and a candy thermometer.
Start the process by estimating the amount of Sap you have and divide that by 35. This will give you a close estimate (on the high side) of the amount of Maple Syrup you will end up with. Keep adding the Sap to the boiler (Evap or Turkey Cooker) as it boils down. Try to use a preheat pan so you’re adding boiling sap, this will save time and keep the boil going.
Next know the fluid ratio to inches in your Cooker, this can be done before you start by putting in a gallon of water and measuring the height in your cooker. Now that you have your ratio pour out the water and add your sap and boil it down to the estimated gallons of Syrup. In a Turkey Cooker I let it boil until it foams over, shown in video. Note it will foam up quickly once it starts, but don’t worry you did not boil it too far, just turn your heat off and you’re good.
Now remove the tall pan and put your Syrup into a shorter pan and use a Thermometer (Candy Thermometer if you have one) to do your final boil. The final boil you’re looking for is 219 to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you have reached this turn off your heat, You have Maple Syrup!
How To Filter
You want to filter the sap, removing larger debris before boiling. This can be done with a cheap thin filter bag. For the final stage (Maple Syrup) and to remove the Sugar-Sands created during the boiling process I use a CDL Maple Syrup Orlon Filter Bag. If you are not selling this then there is another way to filter, that is to pour your end product (Maple Syrup) into a glass container and let it set for a few hours. Once the Sugar-Sands have settled to the bottom you can then pour it into your final containers, leaving a small amount of Maple Syrup and the Sugar-Sands in the first glass container and washing it down the sink.
What Is The Final Density of Maple Syrup
The proper density of Maple Syrup is 59% Brix or 32% Baume.