Maple syrup is amongst the oldest organic food commodities produced in phibìc America. Folklore credits the aboriginal Americans with the discovery of this flavorful natural sweetener.

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Although contemporary day advertising operations differ greatly from those of ours ancestors, the basic process of converting maple sap come syrup still requires the removal of water native the raw sap to type the finished product. Most novice producers discover the endure of developing maple syrup financially rewarding far beyond the sweet product of your labor. After a couple of years of experience, many beginners build a level of passionate that advances them come commercial-size maple production. This leaflet offers instruction because that those creating maple syrup because that the very first time, generally for residence or family members use. Remember, although you may want come innovate come minimize manufacturing costs, maple syrup is a food product and should be created only v equipment and materials that are approved because that food application.

Species come tap

Although several varieties of maples flourish in the Northeast, street maple (Acer saccharum) is the traditional types tapped because that maple syrup production. The sap of the sugar maple generally contains a higher level that sugar 보다 the other maples. Identify sugar maple through its bark, that dark, brownish-colored, spicy buds, and also its five-lobed leaves. Red maple (Acer rubrum) have the right to be tapped also, yet its sap is less sweet and the tree division bud prior to sugar maple. When buds break, or expand in late spring, the sap becomes turn off flavored and also is not desirable for processing. The red maple has red colored, rounded buds and its three-lobed leaf is well-known for that vivid excellent red shade in autumn. One more species, black color maple, varies slightly in the visual characteristics of sugar maple, however otherwise returns sap of similar quality come the sugar maple. Most syrup producers treat the black and also sugar maple together one species (figure 1).


Figure 1. Maple types and leaves.

Trees growing along roadsides, in lawns, or in open settings, whereby their crowns have actually grown big without competition from various other trees, generally produce much more and sweeter sap 보다 forest-grown trees. Open up grown trees are qualified of developing one half gallon that syrup in one season (15 come 20 gallons of sap), vice versa, trees farming in a forest setup generally produce around one quart of syrup (about 10 gallons of sap). In addition to greater sap volume and sweetness, open up grown trees usually offer greater availability for sap collection.


Most the the equipment required for tapping may be available in the residence workshop or purchased v minimal investment. Buckets, covers, and spiles (also referred to as spouts) are obtainable from maple tools dealers and also many hardware stores. Other feasible sap containers encompass clean plastic milk jugs or plastic containers with covers. The devices for processing sap will require better investment, yet will critical for plenty of years if kept properly. Used devices may be purchased however use judgement and also acquire only equipment cost-free of rust and also fabricated of food-grade materials. Following is a said list the equipment and also materials for making maple syrup for home-use.

carpenter"s hand brace or chest drill v 7/16 customs diameter drill bitspile (or spout), either steel or plastic because that each tapholebucket with cover, plastic sap arsenal bag, or plastic tube (food grade materials)collection or warehouse containers, such as plastic or metal trash cans (several gallons in capacity and also leakfree) because that sap storage before processing. Storage volume of 1 to 2 gallons because that each madness (ex. 25 taps = 25 to 50 gallons storage) need to be adequate.pan through high sides and a heat source for boil sap. The pan size will vary with the number of taps. Heat resource can be lumber fire, propane or camp stove. Stainless steel pans fabricated through lead-free solder or welded seams space strongly suggested.thermometer calibrated to at least 30oF above the boiling suggest of water. Kitchen or candy thermometers may be adequate yet must be easily readable over approved filter because that filtering hot finished syrupcontainers because that storage the the finished product (canning jars, syrup jugs, etc.)



Tap maple trees in early spring when daytime temperatures go above freezing while nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. The exact time relies on the elevation and location of her trees and also your region. In Pennsylvania and southern regions of brand-new York, very first sap circulation traditionally takes location in mid- come late-February. In north regions and also at greater elevations, the season often starts in at an early stage to mid-March. Sap usually flows because that 4 to 6 weeks or as lengthy as the freeze nights and warm job continue. If you space uncertain about when to tap, consult through a surrounding maple producer or contact your Office.

The minimum argued tree diameter for tapping is 10 inch in diameter (Note: not circumference) measured in ~ 4½ feet above ground (see "Other resources of Information" because that making a diameter measurement stick). A quick and easy means to recognize the diameter of the tree is by making use of a family measuring tape. This will give the one of the tree, which deserve to be converted to diameter native Table 1.

Table 1. Reminder for number of taps every treeDiameter(inches)Circumference(inches)Number the taps

Tapholes should be drilled as soon as temperatures are over freezing to reduce the danger of damages to the tree. Usage a 7/16 customs diameter drill (available indigenous hardware shop or maple tools dealers) in a hand brace or breast drill. Drill into the tribe of the tree in an area that includes sound hardwood (free the scars, wounds, or older tapholes). If sap will be gathered in buckets, a height of 2 to 3 feet above ground level allows for simple collection. However, the height have the right to vary depending on preferences, age, and size of the separation, personal, instance tapping the tree. If the tree has been tapped in ahead years, situate the brand-new taphole at least 6 inch laterally and 24 inch vertically indigenous the old taphole to insure tapping right into good, abundant sapwood.

For trees with much more than one tap, distribution the tapholes approximately the one of the tree. Drill 2 come 2½ inches right into the tree at a slight increase angle to facilitate flow of sap native the hole.

Notice the color of the shavings from the drill as you bore. Shavings have to be light or cream colored, describe live healthy and balanced sapwood. Shavings that are dark brown show wood undesirable because that sap production, and also another taphole should be drilled at a brand-new location.

After making certain that the brand-new taphole is cost-free of shavings, insert the spile and seat it v a light hammer. Tap, not pound, the spile in the taphole. Seat the spile appropriately so it have the right to support the bucket. Control the spile with pressure can separation the bark delaying taphole closure and causing a comprehensive wound top top the tree for many years (Figure 3). Execute not act the taphole through disinfectants or other products at the moment of tapping. ~ removing spiles native the tapholes at the finish of the maple season, execute not plug the taphole. Tapping done effectively will allow tapholes to close normally (covered through bark) in around two years and also will allow the tree to stay healthy and productive because that generations.


Figure 3. Taphole wound.

Plastic tubing might be used in ar of buckets, but its use will not be disputed here. For more information on making use of maple tubing, consult her maple devices dealer, local maple producer, or Office.


The volume of sap built up during a flow period will differ from less than a quart to number of gallons every tap, depending upon the tree, weather conditions, and duration of the flow or run. The sugar contents of sap varies in between trees, will fluctuate between runs within a season, and from year to year.

Collect sap everyday if possible. It have the right to be filtered with a clean fabric or record filter to eliminate debris if desired. Sap deserve to be stored in a clean tank (a 30 gallon storage deserve to works fine) for more convenient processing. The storage vessel should be placed in the shade to keep the sap together fresh and cool as possible. Because sap is a mixture that sugar and also water, it is a perfect tool for bacter growth. Therefore, it should be collected and handle as easily as possible to certain a higher quality product. Clean pails, one for each hand to offer far better balance, might be used for collecting sap indigenous the tree for transport to the repertoire tank. As soon as using buckets, make certain each bucket has a sheathe to store rain water and also other debris from contaminating the fresh sap (Figure 4).


Figure 4. Spanned sap bucket.


Usually about 40 gallons the sap are forced to develop one gallon of finished syrup. In reality this figure can differ from 20 come 60 gallons or more depending primarily on sap sugar content. A large amount the water need to be evaporated native the sap to develop the perfect syrup the 66 come 67 percent sugar. Because the big amount of vapor caused by evaporation the the sap might be damaging to interior wall surface surfaces, the bulk of the boiling should be done outside of the home.

For individuals with 50 or an ext taps, hobby-size continuous feed evaporators space commercially available. However, most hobbyists cook sap continuously in one pan end an open fire, camp stove, or discarded gas range. Multiple pans (sap is included to the first, focused sap from the very first pan is included to the next, and so on) offer more capacity with much more efficiency and are often used by producers with more experience. If lumber fuel is used, a support (called an "arch") can be created with concrete blocks to assistance the boiling pan and carry out a firebox. Dry great quality firewood is most preferable for a hot fire.

Before the fuel is ignited, to fill the pan with numerous inches the sap. Throughout the boil process, make particular the liquid level is deep enough (about 1½ inches) therefore the sap will certainly not scorch and damage the pan. Together sap is evaporated (liquid level reduced), add more sap. The faster the sap boils, the greater the potential for creating a greater quality product. This "batch" method allows the sap come be handle to a point near the last stage that evaporation. The more concentrated sap have the right to then be perfect with much more controlled warm on the kitchen range.

Sap becomes syrup (66-67% sugar content) at approximately 7¼oF over the boiling point of water (ex. If water boils at 212oF, appropriate density for syrup would certainly be slightly end 219oF). Concentrations listed below 66% street content have the right to sour over time. If boiled over the 67% thickness of syrup, street crystals can form in the bottom of warehouse containers. The boiling suggest of water, which varies with elevation and daily alters in barometric pressure, is easily identified by noting the temperature in the life sap when it is boil vigorously. Finished syrup will regularly "apron" or produce a vast sheet or drip top top the leaf of a spoon once dipped in and also quickly withdrawn above the boiling liquid. To preserve the experience of boiling sap an enjoyable one, always practice safety.

Throughout the process, overabundance foam might be skimmed turn off the surface of the cook sap and discarded. Many species of materials, such as butter or vegetable oil, have actually been offered to mitigate foaming. However, a advertisement defoaming agent obtainable in tiny containers from maple devices dealers is recommended. The defoamer must be fresh, and also only a autumn or two is needed. When supplied in little quantities, defoamers will certainly evaporate there is no a noticeable map in the syrup.


When syrup has actually reached its ideal temperature and also density, it must be filtered to eliminate a gritty material referred to as "sugar sand" or "niter" prior to hot packing in containers. The syrup should be filtered while hot through clean filter material such as wool or orlon easily accessible from maple tools dealers. Syrup must be canned hot (180oF) and stored in a cool dry location or under refrigeration. After ~ a container has been opened for use, it need to be refrigerated. Need to mold type on syrup that has been save for numerous months, simply carry the syrup to close to boiling (190oF), remove the mold through skimming, and also repack the syrup in a clean container.

The procedure above is intended for home manufacture that maple syrup. If syrup is to it is in marketed, grading and labeling criter are forced for sleeve sale in most maple creating states. Contact your Office or state department of agriculture for regulations extending maple products.

Cleanliness and also quality control

After a duration of warmth weather, cloudy sap may appear in buckets or gathering equipment. This is caused by bacter growth and can have actually a an adverse affect top top syrup color and also taste. A mixture the 1 part unscented family members bleach to 20 components clean water can be supplied with a fabric or brush to clean the within surfaces that sap arsenal equipment. Follow the cleaning with a triple wash of clean water to remove any hint of the bleach application. Sap boiling tools can be cleaned with hot water, or the product recommended by the tools manufacturer. Do not use any type of other clean substances in any type of maple equipment. Family members detergents can not be totally rinsed native equipment and will contaminate sap and syrup v undersirable tastes and also odors. As soon as washing sap or syrup filters, use hot water only. At the finish of the season after clean in the manner described above, keep equipment and also supplies in a dried place.

Equipment and also supplies

Production supplies and materials are obtainable from maple equipment dealers transparent the maple producing regions. Countless local hardware stores bring a little line of tools such together buckets and spiles. Used devices is often readily available for revenue in classified sections of regional newspapers and farming circulars. A maple tools dealer or distributor nearest you deserve to be situated by contacting your neighborhood Office, maple producers in your area, or with your county, regional, or state maple organization.

Other resources of Information

Tapping guidelines and determining tree diameter. L.J. Staats and also J.W. Kelley, Dept. Of herbal Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.North American Maple Syrup producer Manual. Single copies are accessible from county, regional, and also state maple producer organizations or from; Ohio State university, publications Office, 385 Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1044. Phone: 614-292-1607.Educational videos for maple producers; Sugarbush Management, Maple Sap Production, Maple Sap Processing, developed by Cornell participating Each video clip is about 25 minutes and can be ordered from: Cornell University resource Center, 7 service & Tech. Park, Ithaca, NY 14850. Phone call 607-255-2090.

"Funding for this publishing was listed in component by the brand-new York Maple producer Association, and also the Pennsylvania Ben Franklin modern technology Center, Pennsylvania Maple producer Council, and the Pennsylvania Hardwoods advancement Committee and also is greatly appreciated."

The authors identify the complying with individuals for evaluation of this bulletin: Jim Finley, Bob Hansen, H. Lee Hoar, Marianne Krasny, Paul Curtis, and Peter Smallidge.

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Prepared by Anni L. Davenport, former educator and also Lewis J. Staats, department of natural Resources, Cornell University, Cornell participating