Maple syrup is delicious, mineral-rich and natural. It’s easy enough to make as long as you live near maple or birch trees and it stores extremely well – for years if you store it properly. It will also be an excellent barter item because not many people will have the tools or the knowledge necessary to make it.
Even if you never need it for survival, fresh maple syrup is a delicious delight to have around to use on pancakes, waffles or in recipes. Today, you’re going to learn how to make maple syrup from start to finish.
The first step in making maple syrup is to draw the sap from the trees. This process is pretty simple if you’re just doing it to make a few batches of syrup; if you want to go industrial, the process can get complicated but only because it involves a long series of pipes that run from each tap on each tree and run the sap downhill to a processing plant.
If you’d like to learn about how to extract the sap from a tree, check out this article that I wrote on the topic. You’ll learn what types of trees give the best sap, how to tap them, and how to collect the sap.
To recap the process for this article, you basically drill a hole in the tree and put in a tap that catches the sap that’s running in the tree and drips it out into a bucket. You can get around 3 gallons of sap per tap every day. That’s a good thing because you’ll need a lot of sap to make a little bit of syrup.
Now, let’s get to the actual process of making maple syrup!
tap mapleIf you followed the directions in my article, your sap is stored in food-grade containers – most likely 5 gallon buckets. It should be stored at 38 degrees F or colder. This probably won’t be a problem because you’re collecting the sap in late winter/early spring and it will still be cold. There may even still be snow on the ground. Sap should be used within seven days of collection.
Just as a side-note, there are many cultures that believe that drinking raw maple sap has a wide variety of health benefits. Though it’s been done for centuries, it’s now recommended that you boil your sap before drinking it to kill any bacteria that may be in it.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand: making maple syrup. (continue reading)