View Full Version : Anyone ever made syrup?

December 5th, 2014, 11:19 AM
I've had to scale way back on my hobby collecting since Little Man got here but I've sold a few of my small engine toys and decided I need something new and interesting to play with for a little while this winter.

I ordered some "sugaring taps" which are, for those who don't know, the things you put into holes drilled in the side of trees to collect their sap for making syrup. Conventionally this is done on Sugar Maples but actually any maple, black walnut, birch, sycamore, or hickory tree can have their sap made into passable syrup if the internet is to be believed.


Anyone ever done this? I know it is a ridiculously time consuming process compared to just buying syrup at the grocery, but since I'm addressing a group of people who cut perfectly good fabric into tiny little pieces just to sew it back together, I'm sure you can understand that the simplest way is not always the most fulfilling way to do something.

I've got a few good sized maples in my yard I believe I can tap and I have a lead on a few sizable black walnut trees I think I can gain permission to tap as well. I ordered 10 taps but I may get more if I can locate more suitable trees as I know it takes a lot of sap to make a very small amount of syrup.

Sylvia H
December 5th, 2014, 11:22 AM
i know nothing of this.....but a good friend and her husband, who live in New Hampshire, do this every year. I'll send her a message and see if she has some info to pass along to you.

December 5th, 2014, 11:25 AM
While I haven't made maple syrup myself, I have a Canadian friend who has done in the past. She has lots of maple trees in her yard. I think the best piece of advice she gave me when I was thinking about trying it was NOT to do it inside the house. The steam will leave a slight stickiness throughout the house.

December 5th, 2014, 11:37 AM
I haven't boiled syrup, but I do come from the state that makes the best maple syrup (though some may disagree :) ).

Here is some information on how much sap it takes per gallon and how long to boil:

Q. How much maple sap does it take to make a gallon of Maple Syrup?

A. The amount of sap required to make a gallon of Maple Syrup depends on the sap's sugar content. If sap is 1% sugar it will take 86 gallons to make one gallon of Maple Syrup. At 2% sugar it will take 43 gallons to make one gallon of Maple Syrup. At Cloverdale Sugarhouse our Sugarbush tends to yield sap that is somewhere between 1% and 2% sugar. So we must process about 50 gallons of maple sap to produce one gallon of Maple Syrup. In a single day we can collect up to 12,000 gallons of maple sap!

Q. How long do you boil Maple Sap to make Maple Syrup?

A. As long as it takes. maple sap officially becomes Maple Syrup when it reaches 66.9% sugar. The magic moment when maple sap turns into Maple Syrup is measured with a hydrometer. A density reading of 32 brix at 209+ degrees F means we have Maple Syrup! Another indicator is boiling temperature. The boiling point of Maple Syrup is seven degrees above the boiling point of water. When boiling maple sap reaches 219 degrees F, enough water has been removed to officially become Maple Syrup.

Jean Sewing Machine
December 5th, 2014, 11:46 AM
What an interesting concept! I think they do this at one of the conservation areas near here in early spring. Good luck Ryan with your new adventure!

Sandy Navas
December 5th, 2014, 11:52 AM
And here I was thinking the Cooper family was sweet enough . . .

When I first saw this I remembered that if we were out of syrup Mom would take brown sugar and add a little water, heat it up and let it boil a bit then cool - great on pancakes and French toast.

December 5th, 2014, 12:11 PM
Ryan -
Have fun :)

Sylvia H
December 5th, 2014, 01:01 PM
My New Hampshire friend was on her computer at the time I sent the request, so I already have a reply. HTHs! Here is her reply and the link she sent:

"As far as I know usable syrup can only be made from maple. Birch is possible but the gallons of sap to syrup ratio is ridiculous and you need special equipment because the sap is corrosive. I'd be afraid to make anything from black walnut they can be highly toxic. just 1 BW shaving in a stall can cause a fatal allergic reaction in many horses. Black walnut extract is used holistically as a dewormer and heartworm larvae killer

It takes approx 40 gallons +/- of maple sap (depends on sugar content) to make a gallon of syrup. It needs to be boiled down to a specific consistency and then jarred in canning jars or similar. The sap is tapped only in the spring when the sap first rises from roots to branches and stopping when the tree starts to bud out

How to Make Maple Syrup - NH Maple Producers ? NH Maple Syrup, Pure New Hampshire Maple Syrup (http://www.nhmapleproducers.com/how-to-make-maple-syrup/) "

December 5th, 2014, 01:10 PM
Here is my hubs making maple syrup....he tapped our maple trees to get the sap and this is what he rigged up to cook it:


December 5th, 2014, 01:43 PM
Sorry - not many maple trees here in Florida.

When I was growing up, we used to go to my Mom's best friends when they were making syrup - in a huge wood-fired vat in a shed in their backyard. They were farmers and grew sugar cane. The vat was probably 6' x 10' and 3 foot deep - a whole lot of hot bubbly syrup in there! Hadn't thought about that in a long time.

But, I have always thought it is very interesting to get the sap from a tree, so will be looking forward to reading about your new adventure!

December 5th, 2014, 01:46 PM
Does the tree make new sap to replace what's been removed. Just curious.

Wow, Shirley, was your husband successful with the syrup he made?

December 5th, 2014, 01:56 PM
We have made blackberry syrup. It in no way involves tapping trees.
We do wrestle man-eating vines to gain the purple orbs of deliciousness that we crush, strain, mix with sugar and Framboise liqueur, boil, and then can.
I'm sure that you will figure out how to make something tasty.

Emily pointed out that Curious George made maple syrup and you could see how they did it. (Maple syrup directions from a cartoon monkey, should NOT be your first source of information, unless of course you are eight.)

Good luck, it seems you have been given good advice from others!

December 5th, 2014, 01:59 PM
Does the tree make new sap to replace what's been removed. Just curious.

Wow, Shirley, was your husband successful with the syrup he made?

He was successful. My brother and his wife came up here from SC and Jim sent a jar home with them. Well the next time he was back he asked if we had more, I guess his wife loved it. He said he thinks she might be drinking it.

Carlie Wolf
December 5th, 2014, 06:25 PM
I did one or two years when I lived up in Canada. We tapped Maple and also Birch. I hadn't heard of tapping Walnut?

I vaguely remember that we'd put the taps on the side where the sun hit the bark in the morning but I may not be remembering that correctly. You might want to check that info on the internet. I do remember that some days the sap ran very fast and other days slower so we did check them twice a day. Also I believe that the birch sap tended to start running right after the Maples were done or just before they finished running.

December 5th, 2014, 06:36 PM
My DH makes syrup every spring. We have no sugar maples but other maple trees work just as well. He uses a turkey fryer to boil the sap (OUTSIDE!--it makes the house way too steamy) and then brings it in to the stove for the last 15 minutes so he can keep a better eye on it. He also strains the sap a couple of times using coffee filters (there are always bugs and pine needles that get into the sap).

Just so you know, it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!

December 5th, 2014, 06:57 PM
How much sap comes from one tree??

December 5th, 2014, 06:59 PM
Does the tree make new sap to replace what's been removed. Just curious.

I believe it replenishes itself much like a persons blood.

Carrie J
December 5th, 2014, 07:34 PM
All I know is in Upstate, tapping was done in the Spring on Sugar Maples, and walnut trees were never used, bad stuff that! It's a lengthy process, but Oh Lord, is it worth it! Best of luck in your endeavors Ryan! And dump the walnut tree idea!

December 5th, 2014, 08:59 PM
And dump the walnut tree idea!

Move over maple syrup: Researchers in Syracuse are tapping walnut trees (and a birch) | syracuse.com (http://www.syracuse.com/food/index.ssf/2014/04/move_over_maple_syrup_researchers_in_syracuse_are_ tapping_black_walnut_trees_and.html)

The folks at Cornell are looking into this so I think it is still worth trying since I have access to several good sized black walnut trees. Why knock it if you haven't tried it?

Carrie J
December 5th, 2014, 10:08 PM
Move over maple syrup: Researchers in Syracuse are tapping walnut trees (and a birch) | syracuse.com (http://www.syracuse.com/food/index.ssf/2014/04/move_over_maple_syrup_researchers_in_syracuse_are_ tapping_black_walnut_trees_and.html)

The folks at Cornell are looking into this so I think it is still worth trying since I have access to several good sized black walnut trees. Why knock it if you haven't tried it?

Just recounting stories of the old timers that ran the Syrup mills in Steuben county Ryan. Not knocking, it, but these men (generations) most likely, had already tried it to no avail. If it did not have the sugar content, nor the quality syrup produced by sugar maples, then it was a no go for them (e.g. supplemental cash to sustain families). Considering newer science and research, there may be decent yield, but to what advantage and price range, and possible damage to a species of tree that is worth it's weight in gold already for fine furniture, the music industry, etc, etc.

Sylvia H
December 5th, 2014, 10:19 PM
How much sap comes from one tree??

I queried this, as, I too, was curious. What I read on one site was that on average, a tree will produce 10 - 20 gallons of sap. But on another site, it said that on a "good" year, a tree might produce 40 - 80 gallons! It didn't explain how a good year came to be. And I think the age/size of the tree is also a factor. At 10 gallons per tree, you will need 4 trees to make one gallon of syrup. Of course, I think a gallon of syrup will go a long way for one family. I wish I could remember how much my friend had after boiling down the sap. It seemed like quite a lot, but then, she had a forest behind her house to tap into!