Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Maple Syrup

Yep, time to get some more maple syrup. This gallon jug lasted about a year. I love using maple syrup to sweeten oatmeal, granola, yogurt, smoothies, etc. 

As I've mentioned before, I often look at things that I buy and ponder if I can make it myself. Maple syrup is no different so when I received a newsletter and saw "Sugar Bush" on the list of upcoming classes at a local nature center, I didn't waste any time signing up. After learning the basics I set out to find some trees at my parents farm.

I think the hardest part of maple syrup-ing is finding the right trees (elder or maple will work) and the cooking down of the sap (haven't done this part). I remember in Jr. and Sr. High studying trees in Science class.....yeah, I haven't improved on this skill. I mean, to me a tree is a tree. During my sugar bush class the instructor showed us what to look for when identifying trees but when we went out to field we only looked at maples and elders. We didn't look at non-elders/maples. I think that comparison would have helped me. Dad to the rescue. He showed me which trees that I could tap.
I drilled holes into the trees, tapped in the spiles and used milk jugs for sap collection.

Some of the jugs wouldn't "stick" to the tree so I used plastic tubing/hose that ran from the spile and into the jug. I cut this hose long so that the jug couldn't easily slip off the hose. I then tied twine around the tree to hold the jug onto the tree.

Six trees tapped and then spring decided to arrive early. As much as I love the warm summer-like temperatures, it's not helping my new hobby. In order to get good sap flow night time temperatures need to be near or below freezing with warm, sunny daytime. Since Minnesota is know for it's fluctuating weather, we still may get some night time freezing (wasn't it snowing in April last year?). So I'll wait another week or two before pulling my spiles. Maybe I'll get just enough for one morning of pancakes. Otherwise I will try again next year.

Shared on Delicious Obsessions Traditional Tuesdays and Homestead Barn Hop

1 comment:

  1. I have a dream of trying this one day. . . . but right now I live in the wrong climate:-)