I have a few friends, both locally and blog-wise, who regularly tap trees for maple syrup, so when we moved into a house last year with a big maple tree in the front yard, I knew that I would need to give it a shot.
I borrowed taps and buckets, had help setting them up from a veteran maple maker, and waited…the weather hasn’t been perfect for collecting syrup this year—it needs to be below freezing at night and not too warm during the day. But we finally had a few good days last week and I collected about 5 gallons of sap. I set up a makeshift boiling station in my kitchen, which is not recommended but I figured it was worth a shot since my total volume was so low. I did my best to protect my cabinets and wiped the vent every so often and all in all it was totally fine. It took about 5 hours to reduce 5 gallons down to 1 pint, but we wound up with incredibly sweet and very maple-y syrup. We could have reduced it more, but it’s so sweet that I didn’t want to risk that it would become cloying.
I’m hoping for one more batch before the season is over and I must say that this is by far one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in the kitchen! And it’s a heck of a lot easier, once you have the equipment, than canning, so this is definitely going to be part of our early spring routine for years to come.