Maple Syrup Facts.

By this time last year  Maple Syrup season was over and done with.

This year it’s still going strong, so today I am making maple syrup.

 

making-syrup

 

While I tend to my syrup like a good little pioneer, here are some numbers to explain the mystery of 100% pure Maple Syrup a little bit.

(numbers vary depending on the weather)

  1. It takes 10 gallons of sap to make 4 cups of Maple Syrup.
  2. It takes 1 week to collect 10 gallons of sap from my single maple tree.
  3. That means you can produce 4 cups per week, for around 3 weeks, resulting in 12 bottles of syrup a year from one tree. (if that tree is producing very well)
  4. A 33,000 BTU burner that attaches to a propane tank to evaporate the sap. It speeds up the evaporation process.
  5. On a cold day it takes 9 hours to evaporate 10 gallons of sap outside.
  6. Then it takes another  1-2 hours inside on the stove to turn it into syrup.
  7. A minimum of 3 fingers are chopped off anyone who tries to steal a bottle of my syrup.

Wondering how it’s done? Read my How to Tap a Tree and How to Make Maple Syrup posts.

 

53 Comments

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  6. Lyndsay says:

    Hi Karen! My husband and I are presently tapping the maple trees in our backyard (We live in Niagara). We are lucky enough to own the same burner that you have. I was wondering where you got your evaporation pan from? We are very close to your home town so we’d love to pick the same one up. Thank you so much for your help. PS. LOVE your blog.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lyndsay – I got my pan from Chris’ Restaurant Supply. You can see their ad on my righthand side bar. It’s on James Street in Hamilton, but if you don’t want to drive I’m sure they’d ship one out to you. Tell them I sent you! I told them what I was looking for and they specifically handed me that one saying others bought it from there for making maple syrup too. ~ karen!

  7. Betsy True says:

    Love your blog. I’m interested in your red burner. I have one used for scalding chickens and boiling dye. I’ve never been able to control the flame enough to use it for cooking. Will your burner turn down far enough to use for water bath and pressure canning? It would be such a boon to be able to do all that outside instead of heating up the house. I don’t have a summer kitchen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy – The burner is attached to a propane tank so you can adjust it however you like depending on how far you open the valve. (not the valve on the tank, the valve on the tube from the burner that attaches to the tank. It’s a great invention. Kitchen supply stores carry them and it cost around $100. ~ karen!

  8. Anemone says:

    Didn’t know the burner came in that colour. Your hair is so nice.

  9. isis says:

    Hi Karen,

    thanks for the numbers… it’s funny i found this post cos i just finished reading a book about maple sugar & syrup. i was all inspired to try it myself, until i found out that you can’t tap a tree until it’s 40years old! and i’m in southern australia where i reckon we could grow them but well i’ll be 70 by the time my tree is ready. damn! anyway i just had a look around online and i found a plant nursery here that sells mature trees – must ring them and see how old they are.
    so what i wanted to know is Do you know how old your tree is???
    Cheers,
    Isis

    • Karen says:

      Hi Isis – I’m not sure how old my tree is, but my best guess would be around 150 years. My mother has a maple tree that’s 40 years old and I tapped it for the first time this year. It only produces about half a bucket of sap a week. 🙁 ` karen!

  10. Nicki Woo says:

    You do everything! That’s awesome. Love it!

    • Karen says:

      Not everything. Lots, LOL, but not everything. For instance, you’d be horrified if you saw the pile of laundry to be folding sitting on my dining room table right now! ~ karen

  11. aiyana says:

    amazing!! so much work but so worth it! maple syrup is the absolute best everrrrr!!!
    http://citystylecountrysmile.com/2013/02/28/healthy-french-toast/

  12. Comet says:

    We live a bit South of you in way Upstate NY next to VT and this weekend was Maple Weekend–lots of Sugar Houses open for tours and breakfasts. One we like to go to is run by a guy who is pretty obsessed with syrup–you would like him a lot; if he built a chicken coop I am pretty sure it would look much like yours!

    He has set 3000 taps in his sugar bush and as of Saturday AM had 860 some GALLONS of syrup. Now he is of course selling this but–he is also hand cutting and running ALL of the wood for the special designed boiler; using a Reverse Osmosis Filter system (removes 85% of the water!) and you could eat off the floor of his sap house.

    We had a former home with big sugar maples and did tap several of the trees and made syrup–in the house–on the woodstove and then finished off on the electric stove–I melted the finish off the cabinets. Well I never liked ’em anyways! The outdoor method is the much better choice!

    Now we have 20 year old maples I brought here from the seedlings of those big old gnarled trees–which are — at 150+ years old STILL STANDING—and some have survived being transplanted and being completely exposed on top of a mountain. And some have fallen over in our extreme winds. Maybe before I move I will get to tap them!

    • Karen says:

      Comet – You’re definitely in Maple Syrup country! I can’t even fathom 860 gallons. My 30 or so might just send me to the nut house. ~ karen!

  13. Barbie says:

    I wish I had a maple tree to sap! :(((((((
    We use maple syrup for everything we would use sugar for …..well almost everything.

  14. Michelle says:

    I need that sweater. Need need need.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Ok, after reading all of your instructions and posts, I have concluded that you are insane. In a good way. But still insane.

  16. Laura Bee says:

    Sweet! I am so happy for you. I knew you needed one of those burners. And since you organized your basement – you have room for it! Nice sweater too.

  17. Jeannie B says:

    Years ago, I tried tapping the maple tree in our backyard. I hardly got any sap out of it and felt so bad for hurting the tree. I put a piece of dowel in the hole and it eventually healed over. I love maple syrup but now just buy it from the grocery store. The Mennonites up around St. Jacob used to sell it by the side of the road and it was delicious. My daughter in N. B. taps her trees and boils the sap in a black iron kettle over a wood fire at the back of their property. It’s a lot of work. My brother tried it once but used the stove to boil it down. The wallpaper came off the walls, with all the humidity. Next year he used the BBQ outside, to boil it. Love your great Maple Leaf sweater Karen.

  18. Reg says:

    Whoa. A lot of work. I’m glad I don’t have a Maple Tree in my yard or I would feel guilty for not tapping and evaporating and bottling.

    Love, love the sweater. Can we get one somewhere?

  19. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    What a nice picture Karen..Did you really knit your maple leaf sweater?? It is so pretty..Enjoy your syrup..you work hard for it!

  20. Julie says:

    Hey Karen…a friend of ours has been into making maple syrup…build a fancy “sugar shack” in the back yard, then bought a high falutin’automatic stainless steel syrup evaporator…I think he produces the same four cups of syrup, but the cost per ounce may be a teensy bit higher…

  21. Noelle says:

    I made some last weekend thanks to your previous posts! I borrowed a burner like the one you have above and it worked great. AND I got four cups! I sure hope the weather cooperates so I can get at least another batch done before the sap stops running.

  22. Mary Werner says:

    I think I read somewhere that people drip the “not yet syrup” juice over snow and make delicious ice cream. (Was it from the Little House on the Prairie book?) Anyway I have always dreamed of doing that someday but since I live in Florida, don’t have a maple tree, and don’t care for maple syrup (gasp)- I’ll be happy to keep dreaming about this childhood fantasy. I also wanted to skate like Peggy Fleming so I’m used to disappointment.

  23. Herp says:

    I’d love to know how you filter your syrup. This is the first year I’ve tried making it and I struggle with the filtering step. I started using a professional synthetic maple syrup filter, but that was a total disaster. Then I switched to using 4 layers of lightweight cotton cloth, which seems to work pretty well because I can remove the top one as it clogs with niter.

    I’m also making small batches – about 5 gallons of sap at a time, so I hate to loose a drop of it in the filters.

    • Karen says:

      Herp – I use 3 layers of cone shaped maple syrup filters stacked inside each other. Not the big heavy felt one just the lightweight paper-like fabric ones. Also cover the filters with a towel to allow the syrup to stay warm and leaving them to drip for a while helps when you only have a small amount. (keeping the syrup in the filters warm allows it to drip more readily than if it gets cool) ~ karen!

      • Herp says:

        Yes, that’s basically what I tried with my last batch. I put 3 layers of cotton fabric in a strainer over a pot, then slowly poured the syrup in. Covered it loosely with an oversized lid and some hand towels, then put the whole thing on the warming zone of my stove. I kept a thermometer in there to make sure it stayed between 180 – 200 degrees. That seemed to help and the light weight cotton doesn’t absorb nearly as much syrup as the heavy felt one I tried first. I waited about a half hour and then pulled the top layer of cotton out to let the small amount of remaining syrup to run through.

        Another mystery is exactly what it looks like when syrup sheets off of a spatula. I haven’t found a good picture or video of that online. I boil on the stove till I get consistent readings 7-8 degrees above boiling water from two thermometers, but at that point the syrup still drips off the spatula in more of a stream than a sheet.

        I’m an engineer – these kinds of problems bug me 🙂

        • Karen says:

          Herp – If you read my How to Make Maple Syrup post, I have a video showing you what it will look like when it drips off the spoon. Also, invest in a hydrometer. It measures the viscosity and therefore Brix level (sugar content) taking all the guess work out. ~ karen

        • Heather says:

          Oh Karen, you do know the way to a nerd girl or engineer’s heart! Measuring tools that take the guess work out are the best 🙂

        • Herp says:

          Oh yeah, look at all that useful information. It’s almost like you knew a year ago what I’d be asking today!

  24. Langela says:

    Karen- could you please show us how to use a microwave to make maple candy? Lol. Did you ever replace your microwave or get the smell out?

    • Karen says:

      Langela – Thank you for bringing up such a dark moment in my past. No, I could never be bothered to replace the microwave. The smell went away after … a couple of months probably, LOL. Wow. ~ karen

  25. I love maple syrup! We have a lot of box elders in our yard and I heard you can tap them. Have you heard this? I think I will study up on it and maybe next year dive in. Going to study your post from last year again! Cheers.

  26. Natika33 says:

    Love the picture! So Canadian! Feeling just a wee bit homesick now…

    And I want to steal your sweater, but I know better than to even joke about that with the maple syrup…

  27. Emily says:

    WOW, thats impressive! I love me some Maple s-rup (how I say it that drives my boyfriend crazy) And I LOVE your shirt!
    Emily

  28. Sylvie says:

    Karen, where did you get your burner? I am looking for something similar to do my pressure canning.

    • Karen says:

      Sylvie – I got mine at my local grocery store Fortinos (Loblaws), but you can buy the exact same thing in a few hardware and restaurant supply stores. I can’t remember exactly but it was around $100 I think. ~ karen!

  29. Janie says:

    My son’s wife is from Japan and did not know about sap collecting. She thought the blue bags hanging on the tree were for dog poop.

  30. Magali says:

    Would you be able to make maple butter or dies that require complicated equipment?

  31. Amie Mason says:

    Wow! So amazing. Clearly I live in the wrong part of the world. I’ll just have to lust over your syrup and continue to buy my imported Canadian maple syrup from the supermarket. Pooh.

  32. Susan says:

    Nice sweater!

  33. Marti says:

    You knit that sweater yourself? That almost looks like a maple leaf on it.

    Or a giant bug, coming to get the syrup.

    Man, that’s some pricy syrup to produce! You must like pancakes a lot-LOT-LOT!

    • Karen says:

      You can put syrup on things? I usually just, ya know, drink it. ~ k

      • Marti says:

        If that were true, it would explain SOOOOOO much, wouldn’t it?

        Secretly, I believe one of Cuddles’ cousins could be right tasty wearing just a bit of it….

      • JBB says:

        I hope you take a little bit of extra time and ferment it first!

        (and that would mean you don’t have to evaporate it so far first)

        Ferment it to dry, then add a little more syrup for flavor and sweetness to taste…

      • JBB says:

        Some of my favorite childhood memories are of doing this with my dad, in Pennsylvania.

        We boiled the sap on the kitchen stove until the entire house was all steamed up, and you couldn’t see out any of the windows.

        I was looking forward to doing that with my kids here in the suburbs, but two of our big maple trees were dying and had to be removed. :/

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