How to Make Maple Syrup
Learning how to make maple syrup is interesting. Maple syrup is made from the sap of sugar maple trees. It is then boiled down to reduce the amount of moisture in the sap. Then voila, maple syrup!
Tapping the Tree
The first step in learning how to make maple syrup is to get yourself to a sugar maple tree. If you've got sugar maples to tap, then great! The next step is to bore a hole in the tree's bark, about half an inch in diameter and three inches deep.
Driving the Spout
The third step is to drive your spout into the hole you just drilled, being careful not to split the tree or pound the spout in until you can't see it anymore. Make sure it's tight enough to not move around. You don't want it to fall out.
Hang Your Bucket
Next you want to hang your bucket from the spout. You want to make sure that the bucket has a lid that prevents rain, snow and other contaminants from getting into the sap. Keeping your sap clean will make the process of boiling the syrup down much easier.
Gathering the Sap
Once you've hung your bucket, you need to wait for the sap to run into it. This could take some time, depending on the season and the temperature outside. Once your bucket is about halfway full, remove it from its hook. It's time to take it into the kitchen! Do not let sap sit around - it will go sour much like milk will.
Boiling the Sap
Next you need to boil the sap to thicken it into syrup. With a candy thermometer in place, boil the sap until it reaches seven degrees above the boiling temperature of water. While this is normally 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it can change depending on your elevation. It's recommended that you find out what temperature water boils at in your area before starting on this step!
Filter and Pour the Syrup
After the syrup has reached the correct temperature, use cheesecloth to filter it into heat-resistant bottles. Do not pour hot syrup into a cold bottle, as it will shatter!
A Quick Treat
After you've filtered your syrup and it's still hot, it's always fun to pour a little bit of it on the snow as a treat. The cold ice will cool it down immediately, allowing you to enjoy some all-natural maple candy!
Once your syrup has been bottled or jarred, keep it in the refrigerator to prevent it from spoiling. You can use this treat to make all sorts of things, from breakfasts to dinner dishes.