Collecting maple sap is an environmentally sustainable process that can be enjoyed by anyone with a healthy, mature maple tree. From tapping to bottling, we’ll show you how to process your sap collection and make your own maple syrup. Blue Seal stores also carry all the supplies you’ll need to get started.
Selecting the right tree
Appropriate, local trees are Sugar, Red, Black, Silver and Box Elder Maple Trees. Select a tree at least 12” in diameter. A 12” diameter tree should have only one tap, larger trees may have up to three.
Tapping the tree
Drill a hole in the tree just slightly larger than your spile, or spout. Make this hole at waist height, and angle it upward slightly to aid draining. The hole should be about 2.5” deep. Insert the spile and tap it with a mallet to secure.
Collecting the sap
A collecting jug with cover should be placed at the bottom of the tree, with a hose connecting the spile to the jug. Jug contents should be collected daily, and prevented from going above 45 degrees to prevent spoilage. Trees produce the most sap on days where the daytime is above freezing and the night before was below freezing.
Rendering the sap into syrup
The sap must be boiled down into a syrup. This process is time-consuming (roughly 8-10 hours) and should not be performed indoors: the steam coming off the sap tends to leave a sticky film behind. Scum and debris (if any) should be skimmed from the top. Expect 40 gallons of sap to reduce down to about a gallon of syrup. The sap has become syrup once it turns brown, thickens, has a boiling point of 219 degrees and smells faintly of caramel.
Filtering the syrup
While the syrup is still hot it should be filtered through a thick cheesecloth to remove any remaining particulate matter or wood pulp.
The syrup may be poured directly in to mason jars or similar containers, but should be allowed to cool fully before a lid is attached.