MY ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MAKING MAPLE SYRUP

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I am about to tell you the secret to living a happy life.  The secret to making sure you get everything you want and don’t attract anything you don’t.  The secret to making maple syrup, baking bread, having a great holiday, and bursting into dance even when the radio is only playing car commercials.

It’s red pants.

Those are my official “Fun stuff is about to happen” pants.  They’re fun.  As the name implies.

I put those pants on and nothing but a good time is about to happen.  You probably have fun pants too, you just haven’t named them yet because you’re afraid of what people will think if you go around naming your pants, which is totally understandable. So maybe start with something smaller and more socially acceptable like “fun socks” and work your way up.

This is the week I tapped my Maple tree.  That can only mean one thing.  It’s time to break out the red pants and let the fun begin.  I love this time of year not because it’s great weather or especially pretty outside.  Honestly it’s kind of gross out.  The snow has mainly melted revealing blobs of dog poop around the neighbourhood, your backyard is so barren and sad it looks like a Zombie time share and that big shiny thing in the sky is … not so shiny.

So why do I love this time of year?  What are you an idiot?  BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO MAKE MAPLE SYRUP.  Ergo … Spring is just around the corner.

Also, I mean, I’m making maple syrup. From scratch.  From a tree in my backyard.  It’s all kind of amazing.

 

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I’ve been making maple syrup from my big maple tree in my backyard for years now but if you didn’t know that about me and you want to make maple syrup, even if you only own ONE maple tree, you should read this …

MY ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MAKING MAPLE SYRUP

(click on the link above to get all the instructions on how to tap a tree and how to turn sap into syrup)

If you’re interested in making your own maple syrup your supplies will cost you anywhere from $50 to $100 for the setup.  Even cheaper if you can source used equipment.  My spiles were $2.50 each for instance from a TSC store and I found my vintage aluminum buckets at a roadside vegetable stand of all things.

A starter kit with all metal components (3 stainless steel spiles, 3 traditional aluminum sap buckets, 3 metal bucket lids, cheesecloth & an instruction booklet sells for $104 on Amazon.

An all plastic kit with 2 plastic buckets, 2 plastic lids, 1 plastic spiles, a filter and instruction booklet sells for $50.

I don’t have a forest of trees, just a single, albeit huge, maple tree.  It isn’t even a sugar maple.

Nope. You don’t need a sugar maple to make maple syrup.  You don’t even need a maple tree.  The best tree to use for maple syrup is indeed a Sugar Maple, the second best is a Black Maple, which is what my tree is but you can also use a Red Maple or even a Birch tree to make syrup. Any of these trees have enough sugar in their sap to eventually turn into syrup if you boil it down enough. Sap produces syrup at a ratio of 40:1.  In other words it takes 40 cups of sap to make 1 cup of syrup.  Unless you’re using a Birch tree in which case it takes many more cups of sap to make 1 cup of syrup.

Remember that handy Refractometer I used last fall to test how sweet my beets were?

This week I used it to test  how sweet the sap that came out of my tree was.  The sap out of my Black Maple measured as a 2.5 on a Brix scale.   That’s perfect for making syrup. And last week I ended up buying the fancy higher level digital refractometer which I’ll be able to use for testing the sugar content of my maple syrup as I’m boiling it down.  My older refractometer couldn’t test sugar levels as high as what’s in syrup.  This is going to make making Maple Syrup at home infinitely easier for me. You see, to be considered Maple Syrup, it has to be boiled down until it’s a minimum of 66.5% sugar, so you have to keep boiling and boiling the sap until most of the water has evaporated away and what’s left is a little water and whole lotta sugar.  If you boil it down too much and reach just 1 percent over that figure, your maple syrup will crystallize in the bottle.

So you have to be pretty accurate when you’re making maple syrup and using a digital refractometer will help a lot with that.

Also, I’m just a sucker for gadgets, especially ones that have buttons.

If I can find the tree through the mounds of snow that fell a couple of days ago, this weekend I’ll be ignoring my emails, closing down my computer like a good little pioneer and boiling down my first batch of sap for the season and making maple syrup.

While wearing red pants.

 

Have a good weekend!

 

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79 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    You forgot two steps:
    1. Plant a maple tree
    2. Wait 30 years
    .. haha

    Seriously though, how fantastic (and lucky!) to have a maple tree in your own yard! That couldn’t be more Canadian if you tried. And the pants are awesome too.

    • Karen Too says:

      Yeah, out here on the prairies it’s just not possible. If I had a tree that big in my yard, well, it wouldn’t be out here that’s for sure. I’d love it though!

  2. Kathleen says:

    Oh! My! Word! Now I have seen / read / heard everything… you MAKE your own Maple syrup!!! Is there nothing you can’t / won’t do?
    I have decided that when I grow up I want to be like you! 🙂

    And I love your red pants. My fun pants are purple! 🙂

  3. Josephine says:

    I planted 3 Sugar Maples quite awhile ago but I don’t think they will be big enough in my life time. LOL I have silver maples will they work?
    My other trees are walnut. Nasty trees though they are wonderful for shade.

    I have always wanted to make Maple Sugar. One of my most favorite things to eat, especially with fried bread. Can’t stand any other syrup. Will plan for next year.

    Have fun this weekend!

  4. Cred says:

    Love those red pants. I can’t believe we’ve been making maple syrup without red pants.
    We’re new to tapping trees- small scale for sure- we only have an acre but it’s a treed lot of mixed woods. We have exactly 8 maple trees large enough for a single spile. We have another that could have 2 but it doesn’t run (possible root damage from some excavation when my guy built his workshop).
    It’s kind of a pain in the butt but I do enjoy that it forces us outside and makes us linger outside manning the fire, when it’s still cold enough to continue hibernating otherwise. We don’t have all the fancy gadgets (or the red pants), we just use a candy thermometer and a spoon to test consistency. We haven’t had a problem with crystallization with this method but I wouldn’t fret too much if it did- so we won’t bother with a refractometer.
    We just bought spiles and a couple of pails- we use other containers we’d rounded up to make do until we were sure we’d continue with the process. Didn’t want to fork over the dough if it were too much hassle. But I’m watching for used metal buckets, as they’re my preference.
    Not sure if we were early enough this year- sap started running so early but we knew winter wasn’t done- we didn’t know how the pros handle that so we waited. We set spiles just last wkd but Sunday everything froze to a stop. This wkd should start again but don’t know if it will last into the week since Ontario is supposed to get too warm overnight. Geez, I hope we didn’t blow it this year and miss some earlier days when the sap would have run.
    We’ve always bought local maple syrup and loved it but nothing compares to the syrup we render down on the fire. Totally worth the pain in the butt.

    • Nancy says:

      I actually found your reply Cred to be more informative! Thank you! My hubs and I have a farm and forest, and he wants to do this next year (we missed it this year). Sounds like fun, and we love having fires outside year round. Good luck to your syrup mission this year!

      • Karen says:

        Did you not read click on the actual guide Nancy? Because every single thing you need to know about where to tap the tree, when, how deep and everything else on how to boil it down is all found, but you have to click on the link, lol. ~ karen!

    • Karen says:

      I got an outdoor propane burner a couple of years ago and I love it for making syrup. If I could figure out how to do it in my pizza oven I would but … I’m afraid I’d just end up with smoked maple syrup. Which might actually be good, lol. ~ karen!

      • Kitten Caboodle says:

        OMG, that sounds delicious. You need to do that! Imagine it in a BBQ sauce? Or as a glaze for duck or ham? Or straight from the bottle? Seriously, I’m salivating just thinking about it.

      • Cred says:

        I’m quite envious of that propane burner- looks perfect for the job. As for the wood fire for evaporating, even though it’s not engulfed in smoke, it has a distinct smoky flavour- we love it. (Well, to be fair, my daughter doesn’t)
        I’m also envious of the pizza oven- not this year but maybe next.

  5. TucsonPatty says:

    I just knew there would be a digital refractometer in your future! Love the red pants. My fun pants are bright pink capris! I’ve always wanted to pour maple syrup over snow so I could be like Laura and Mary Ingalls. I don’t like maple flavored candy so I really don’t know why I fantasize about this, but someday I’m going to make it happen. I’ll have to buy the maple syrup at the store and boil it down some more, then move somewhere there might be snow to pour it onto, then it will happen!

  6. mia pratt says:

    You rock, Karen. I mean there’s just no other way to put it. I wish I had a maple tree so I cold make syrup. But, uh, I don’t live in Canada and so it couldn’t possibly taste as good as the stuff I can buy from the little home-made goodies store here in Portland (Oregon), which has lovely bottles of maple syrup hand-made by women like you, in Canada. However, I do have red tights – which is Portland’s version of red pants. So I’m going to put on those red tights tomorrow, go to that specialty store and buy a $25 dollar bottle of maple syrup, and make some lovely, eggy home-made pancakes for dinner. With bacon. Lots and lots of crispy, salty bacon. And when I do, I’ll raise my glass of almond milk to you, Karen who Rocks, maker of maple syrup from a tree in her own back yard. Cheers!

  7. Marna says:

    Awesome! You and your red pants and all you do! I just bought a small bottle of maple syrup. I will think of you making your own when I use mine. 🙂

  8. Lynne says:

    On my way. With pancakes. *_*.

    PS. my friend made maple syrup a few years ago, but boiled it down in a big pot IN her house. She had sticky walls for f.o.r.e.v.e.r. What’s your secret? Are you boiling it outside on an open fire? Totally pioneer like? If so, I’m definitely coming over to lick the ‘cooled off’ pot. 🙂

    I totally want to be you, when I grow up. You inspire me to do stuff every day. Thanks for that.

  9. Ter'e says:

    I think those red pants are “fancy fun red pants”. FFRP for short. You look so cute in them. I would look like Santa!!!!

    You know, I have never tasted real maple syrup. I hear it tastes nothing like the Aunt Jemima brand!!!!

    What have I been missing????

    • pat barford says:

      Everything! Even cheap COSTCO maple syrup is better than Aunt J. My condolences. Expensive as it is, if you can find a small bottle, it might be worth it just to taste the difference.

      • Ter'e says:

        Thanks Pat……..actually I don’t use syrup at all………..I eat my pancakes nakey. My DH is the syrup eater. I think I have been missing out. I might have to go buy a bottle of the real thing and try it, after this.
        Thanks.

  10. You actually look great in red trousers, Karen, unlike the multitude of men-of-a-certain-age (usually in their late 40s-early 50s) who wear them in Britain. In fact, red trousers have somewhat comedically negative connotations on this side of the pond.

    They’re affectionately known as ‘posh twat trousers’, due to the fact that they are worn by a certain type of male; one who is usually desperately trying to cling onto his youth, has had a jolly decent education, comes from a fairly wealthy background, and either attends Burning Man to prove how young, hip, and rebellious he is (he won’t dress down though), or Henley Regatta if BM is too modern. There is a strong possibility that he was a yuppie in the ’80s.

    On rarer occasions, red trousers are worn by men in their 60s and 70s, in the vain hope it will make them more attractive to 20-something women… often in their employ. They can usually be found sipping Pimm’s at cricket matches.

    Red trousers are most often paired with a pastel-coloured cashmere sweater. Pink is regularly favoured for its ability to prove masculinity. It also signals the wearer’s old guard credentials, while at the same time, being just modern enough to not be considered archaic or outlandish. The cashmere sweater is also an indicator of the RTWM’s (red trouser-wearing male) inherent poshness, and abundance of educational nous, because in Blighty, pink was historically, the colour in which small boys were dressed… and was, quite possibly, the precursor to today’s red trousers.

    Said cashmere sweater is almost always casually strewn about the shoulders over a fine cotton or lawn shirt; long-sleeved of course (usually rolled up three times) – short-sleeved shirts (usually made of polyester or poly-cotton) are what Americans and sales assistants in electrical goods shops wear. By ‘casually’, I do in fact mean that the red trouser-wearing male has spent 37 minutes in front of his full-length mirror, carefully arranging his sweater in order to give the impression that he has casually thrown it about his person upon discovering the weather outside to be a tad too nippy to bomb around the countryside in his convertible MG with the top down.

    The older red trouser-wearing male, is unfortunately, not quite as debonair; he will usually wear a wholly inappropriate style of shirt, very often with a Tattersall plaid pattern, and a navy blue blazer, complete with brass buttons. A garish cravat is often in evidence too. To further compound his sartorial crimes, he will usually wear dress shoes. Granted, not the of the shiny, patent variety, but dress shoes nonetheless.

    Unlike his younger counterpart, this RTWM can often be seen sporting facial hair, in the form of a large soup-catcher moustache. This is the most piteous example of the RTWM, for he does not understand that far from presenting an attractive, manly prospect, underlining his nose in such a manner begets exactly the opposite of the desired effect upon the fairer sex.

    We British do a very good line in eccentric males, bless ’em! Here’s a little ditty, courtesy of the genius that is John Finnemore;

    https://youtu.be/j5pZS4jdI-o

    PS The whole of Europe now officially envies your ability to make your own maple syrup. True fact.

    • Pam says:

      Love your short essay on the red trouser in British society, Nicole!

    • Bellygrrl says:

      I always hated men in red pants, but I never knew why until now. Hilarious comment! I do like Karen’s red pants. It shows how confident she is in her maple-tree tapping prowess. I would do it in something that wouldn’t show spills… Thanks for the laughs!

    • Shirley says:

      Brilliant piece, Nicole. Loved it!

  11. Shirley says:

    First find a maple tree!
    None in Cape Town South Africa.
    I can make Aloe Vera syrup though – do you have an Aloe in your garden?
    Thanks Karen!

  12. Lynda says:

    I also love my red pants … well, they’re more like pink now after washing … still fun, just not quite as sassy! Ladies of a certain vintage might remember banana pants. Equally fun.?

  13. billy sharpstick says:

    We have maples in Florida, but I don’t think it gets cold enough for the sap. Can I use the sap from pine trees? They make lots of sap. (Be careful, though. It’s hell to get off clothes!)
    Great red pants. I like wrap pants, but I don’t wear them riding a bicycle. Anymore. This one time at Burning Man, I was riding across the playa with about a dozen friends. The loose pant leg blew through the bike frame, and got jammed up in the chain. I had to lay the bike down on the ground, take my pants completely off the get them untangled. While all my “friends” stood around laughing their asses off at me! (No, I was not wearing underwear that day.) They’re still my friends. When we get together at parties, that’s one of the funny memories we share. Ain’t it funny how some of the worst experiences become some of the best memories? Eventually.

    • Grammy says:

      Seriously, Billy? You “accidentally had to” take off your pants at BURNING MAN? Right. Do you happen to have any bridges for sale? Here’s the deal, now at parties Billy’s friends all say things like, “Remember that time at Burning Man when all of a sudden we realized Billy had no pants? Remember that? Okay, we were so baked we only barely remember. But it was really funny! Remember that part? Yeah. And Billy said it was because of the bike. Good times!”

      Good anecdote, though, so I’ll buy it this time. But next time you get caught running around with no pants on, nobody’s going to believe it was the bike. At Burning Man.

  14. Tigersmom says:

    Hmmmm. I’m guessing there isn’t much chance I could get syrup from an ornamental Japanese Maple whose trunk is roughly the diameter of my wrist. I guess that’s why you never hear anyone refer to Japanese Maple Syrup. : /

  15. Jane S says:

    My husband made maple syrup when our girls were young. He burnt out two barbecues. Sadly half our maple tree came down in a wind storm and the other half was taken down this week. I felt like crying as I watched the sap pouring out while they were cutting. Good memories.

  16. Monique says:

    I have maples..will read with interest:)
    You are so much fun to read..just opening the post and the pop of red:)

  17. Karen says:

    Oh my gosh! I heard somewhere that you can make syrup out of black walnut tree sap… so I did it a couple weeks ago and blew everybody’s mind at work. It actually made pretty good syrup. Now I’m trying to convince everyone to make their own syrup. So easy!

    • Carswell says:

      The black walnuts on my property have been – up till now – the bane of my existence. Perhaps no longer. I also have one huuuuge maple tree that survived the ice storm.

      Syrup here I come.

  18. Jan in Waterdown says:

    I have fun underwear.

  19. Linda in Illinois says:

    Red being my favorite color, I of course love your pants.. I live just a hop skip and a jump from the Funks Grove Maple Syrup production house (literally a house in the trees) here in my part of Illinois. It is so neat when they begin the run, all the silver buckets lining the trees. I’ve watched them boil it down before and it is a big operation and very interesting to see. Everyone should try it once. Have a great and fun weekend Karen.

  20. Molly says:

    I made maple syrup two years ago when I still lived at home (Illinois) and had access to maple trees! We got about 12 pints of syrup over a three week period from 6 trees. The setup was a little ghetto, though (copper pipes for spiles, plastic tubing, and empty pop bottles for sap collection….not nearly as nice as the metal buckets and spiles).

    My big question is, how do you boil down the sap? I have yet to find a way that isn’t labor-intensive/doesn’t make everything within 50 feet sticky.

  21. Mary W says:

    Please don’t ban me from your site – but I don’t like Maple Syrup. Tried it over and over, each time with a different brand to see what I was missing. Nothing. But I do love heaps of butter on pancakes then sprinkle white sugar over that forming a sort of crusty, sandy bite that crunches with the soft pancakes. On buckwheat pancakes it has to be Florida fresh cane syrup YUM. I also HATE cilantro so go figure. My tongue is strange since apparently the whole world disagrees, although I did read somewhere that I may be missing some enzyme that causes cilantro to taste like soap. It must also affect the taste of maple syrup. Maybe I could invent some kind of butter syrup from turbinado sugar and then you wouldn’t ban me. Keeping my fingers and red pants crossed!

    • Kitten Caboodle says:

      Mary, have you tried coconut syrup? I didn’t know it existed until I went to Hawaii. It is amazing on pancakes. There are two main brands: “Hawaii” – clear bottle, no handle and “Hawaiian Sun” – white bottle with handle. I prefer the Hawaii brand. You can order some from ABC Stores (the Hawaii equivalent to Walgreens or 7-Eleven – they’re on every corner).
      http://www.abcstores.com/

      • Mary W says:

        Thanks Kit, sounds very interesting. My daughter loves to use coconut oil in her cooking and I just bet she would love to try this.

    • Pam says:

      I totally agree on the vileness of cilantro, but I love real maple syrup so must not be the same enzyme/gene. 🙂

      • Mary W says:

        I wish there was a pill to activate vileness whenever I see a cheese cake or really moist and dark chocolate anything. Do you prefer pecans over walnuts? I adore pecans but just do not like walnuts, sam I am. How is this possible when all nuts are normally fair game for me. Tricky tongue. LOL

        • Pam says:

          I’ve always used pecans in cookies, pies, scones, etc. (even if walnuts were in the recipe) and only recently started to buy walnuts ’cause they’re so good for you. I’ve decided they are yummy on oatmeal, but pecans still win out. Waffles with toasted pecans and maple syrup…YUM!

    • Gillian says:

      My sister has strange taste buds too, maybe there’s a physical reason for it. All this time we just thought she was odd. Interesting. Thanks for the heads up! LoL.

  22. Brenda says:

    Ha ha – am I ever glad there’s such a thing as a vicarious thrill – that’s what I’m having now! Knowing me I’d probably have a wider than 50ft gooey radius and would ruin my party pants (which are stretchy fur leopard print).

    I had banana pants! I have red pants – everyday is a happy day … sometimes;)

    PS – that no undies pants caught in the bike chains story – haha!

    And YUM real maple syrup from Your own backyard tree – those chickens must be so proud to have you as their mama. Have you googled Misty Prepper on YouTube yet – she made a hot tub out of an old horse trough and rigged it up to some copper piping – that might get some of your sticky off before you go in and wreck the inside of your hose with it.

  23. Brenda says:

    house (guess you could use a hose though:0/)

  24. Liz says:

    this post took me on a fun little journey of finding posts I’d never read before, like syrup tasting and flower arranging and flower of the week! Oh and some revisits to your Christie’s posts 🙂

  25. leslie says:

    Karen, I just love your blog. I’ve been a faithful reader for at least 2 years and am constantly inspired. Here in New Mexico, however, the only really tappable thing is Piñon pine trees whose sap has been used medicinally by locals for generations.
    How much sap do you get from your tree? I’m just wondering how much syrup you end up with (I see the ratio is 40:1 but don’t see where you may have mentioned syrup amount). Do you keep it all to yourself save the occasional pancake breakfast with family or do you give any bottles away?

  26. Jody says:

    Loves the red pants–very Canadian. My husband is doing the first boil of the season this Sunday so obviously planning for waffles and bacon with still-warm syrup for dinner. When I go out to the sugar shack on Sundays to “help” we’ll have thick cut bacon fried up with sap (not syrup) on the wood stove. Personally I think there should be a special stamp for Canadian passports if you make your own maple syrup.

  27. Susan says:

    How ironic that this post should come today. My property abuts a college that has a sugar shack and the past few days, the intoxicating smell of maple syrup/cotton candy has greeted my dog and I as we walk past. They use those metal buckets that you have and I took a rather nice photo of one since we had a power sugar snow last night. (I’m on a sugar-free diet right now and not copping very well, obviously). Our neighbors give us a tiny bottle every year that they make in some kind of outdoor pipe stove in exchange for a daylily, homemade cookies, and this year, an orange and purple dahlia.

    I also ended up spending two hours reading all your posts on maple syrup, maple syrup candy, and maple syrup taste testing. Thanks Karen. Oh, and my fun pants are paisley velvet leggings.

  28. Pam says:

    It’s become clear that the reason my life is, by most accounts, dull is that I have no fun pants. No red pants. No fake leopard fur pants. No paisley leggings. No banana pants. No wrap pants to get caught in bicycle spokes and expose my nekkid nether regions. Ho hum.

  29. One of the downsides of living in a year round gardening climate: no maple syrup 🙁

    • Karen says:

      Plus you don’t get the whole “rest” from gardening. By the end of October I’m pretty much happy to be done with it. 🙂 I’m ready to get back at it now though. ~ karen!

  30. Marti says:

    I gave that Brix thingie to THREE friends for Christmas. You want to know what I got back?

    “Uhh, thanks… I guess?”
    “Hmmm, what does this do?” (I explained.) “Yeah, but what does it DO?”
    “I know I’m going to be so pleased… when I figure out what this is.”

    Now you tell me I should have given them a maple tree sapling… like 20 years ago???

  31. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I remember the first year you made syrup…it’s a good thing…You make everything fun Karen…doesn’t matter what color pants you are wearing…

  32. Tina says:

    Saving up some ‘clean’ snow this weekend, to make maple syrup taffee/candy in the coming weeks when the syrup is good’n ready. Always fun for our guests to sample at our hobby sugar shack just north of where you live Karen. Not sure if I can convince the hubby (the syrup master) to wear red pants tho…

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Is Tina “allowed” to tell us locals where her sugar shack is? Assuming she wants to and it’s open to the great unwashed public . . . lol. (I’ve worked in retail so I know whereof I speak!) ?

  33. Elaine says:

    Good grief, Karen …. is there anything you DON’T do?? I’m amazed – no kidding!

    To make readers (like me) feel a bit better about themselves, can you someday do a post on what you CAN’T do? I bet you can’t come up with one single thing.

  34. Meg says:

    OMFG I obviously need fun pants.

    You are the funniest. Also as soon as I have trees again… I will harvest their sugar delights.

    Do you ever worry about pesticides on trees? I just wonder if they stay in trees, I know we had used a pesticide when we had really bad hemlock wooly adelgids. (which was adjacent to the ginormous sugar maple) Maybe you’ve had that tree long enough….

  35. Birgit says:

    Karen, may I ask what you do with this syrup? Do you replace your daily sugar dose with it, in your coffee? I know one can put it on pancakes, which I don’t like, but what else can I do with it? Do I sound like a Nerd???? Most probably…..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Birgit! I really just use maple syrup for pancakes (which I rarely eat … maybe once a year, lol) and french toast. I also use it for a few recipes that I make like my Award Losing Maple Bourbon BBQ sauce. 🙂 Plus, I begrudgingly give a few bottles a year away. VERY begrudgingly and VERY few, lol. ~ karen!

      • Birgit says:

        Thank you Karen, I will check out your bbq sauce for my husband. Maybe that is the perfect way to use this bottle in my fridge, which is most probably living there for ages. Thank you.

  36. Dave says:

    Hey Karen, I read this blog post last Thursday and stopped at the Erin Farm and Food and picked up six metal buckets, spiles, filters, lids etc… You have inspired me. I tapped three maples that I know they are maples for certain. lol The other two, I’m not sure. The bark is similar and I did uncover sugar maple leaves but they could be from my big guy not too far away. Time will tell. I sure hope I get a run because I am excited to give this new project a go. I’m getting ready to cold smoke my cheese and salts on the same day I’ll be evaporating….. hopefully I’ll have enough sap to boil!
    -Cheers…… your neighbour to the North, Mulmur ON

  37. Benjamin says:

    maple syrup goes great on Brussel sprouts and bacon crumbles… lol

  38. Dominic says:

    I love making syrup, it’s fun, and extremely rewarding, plus I make my kids carry all the heavy stuff. But, I have read that for the health of your tree, recommended practice is that you put your spiles at least 18″ apart. That’s about 32 miles in metric, I think. Or 450mm, whatever’s closer. I’m by no means an expert, that’s just what I’ve read in a couple places.
    I hate to be “That Guy”, but I’d also hate for you to possibly harm your tree!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dominic! 32 miles, lol. No, the spiles don’t need to be 18″ apart. They just need to be 5″ away from any hole you made the previous year. The amount of spiles is based on the size of the tree and my tree is somewhere around 80″ around. It’s huge. Since the back of my tree can’t fit a bucket because of the fence there I put the buckets on the one side of the tree. Also I only tap my tree once every 2 or 3 years because she is getting old and close to retirement. 😉 ~ karen!

      • Dominic says:

        i was coming back to correct myself, and found you correcting me! I see where I got the 18″ though, it says that it’s best to wait for a tree to be 18″ before adding a second spile. Ah well, I knew I saw that number somewhere!

  39. Katie says:

    I have serious maple tree envy but this article inspired me to buy some awesome red pants from Goodwill (that, as a bonus, make my booty look great in addition to being super fun), so at least I have that going for me now. Thanks, Karen! 😀

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