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Maple Sugaring

Identification
Summer/fall – Sugar Maple ("Canadian" leaf), has 3% sugar content
-Red maple gives sap as well, ½ the sugar content

Winter – go by bark – silver/gray in color, shaggier in appearance as age
Sugar maples reach their ideal sugaring capacity after 40 years

Tapping
When: late February
Below freezing nights/ warm days make for ideal conditions
Where: look for strong branches & roots
Keep the sun in mind, southern & western exposure are best
Don't tap too high – the snow will melt as the season progresses
How much: don't tap a tree under 10" in diameter; two buckets over 18", three buckets over 24"
Fine print: 7/16" drill bit fits standard taps, drill 1 ½-2" into tree
Tools: drill & drill bit, hammer, taps, buckets, lids/covers

Boiling
Process of evaporation
Use pans on top of woodstove
Evaporators and reverse osmosis machines for industrial efficiency
Wood – stock early, plan on using lots
40G of sap yields 1G syrup
2G syrup requires 15-16hrs minimum

Finishing
cookstove allows for more control
watch for bubbles to rise up side of boiling pot
filter through cheesecloth
pour in sterilized jars while hot – heat of the syrup will create it's own seal

Recommended Reading
Backyard Sugarin' by Rink Mann
The Maple Sugar Book by Helen & Scott Nearing

 


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