Maple syrup is amongst the oldest herbal food commodities produced in phibìc America. Folklore credits the indigenous Americans v the exploration of this flavorful herbal sweetener.

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Although modern-day day advertisement operations differ significantly from those of ours ancestors, the basic process of converting maple sap to syrup still needs the removal of water native the raw sap to kind the finished product. Most novice producers uncover the suffer of developing maple syrup lucrative far beyond the sweet product of your labor. ~ a few years that experience, numerous beginners build a level of enthusiasm that breakthroughs them come commercial-size maple production. This leaflet offers instruction because that those producing maple syrup for the an initial time, generally for home or family members use. Remember, return you might want come innovate to minimize manufacturing costs, maple syrup is a food product and should be developed only v equipment and materials that room approved for food application.

Species to tap

Although several types of maples grow in the Northeast, sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is the traditional varieties tapped for maple syrup production. The sap that the sugar maple generally has a higher level of sugar than the other maples. Recognize sugar maple by its bark, its dark, brownish-colored, sharp buds, and its five-lobed leaves. Red maple (Acer rubrum) have the right to be tapped also, however its sap is less sweet and the tree breaks bud before sugar maple. As soon as buds break, or expand in late spring, the sap becomes off flavored and also is not desirable for processing. The red maple has actually red colored, rounded buds and its three-lobed leaf is recognized for that vivid excellent red color in autumn. An additional species, black maple, varies slightly in the visual qualities of sugar maple, yet otherwise yields sap of similar quality to the street maple. Most syrup producer treat the black and also sugar maple as one types (figure 1).


Figure 1. Maple species and leaves.

Trees cultivation along roadsides, in lawns, or in open up settings, wherein their crowns have actually grown big without competition from other trees, normally produce more and sweeter sap 보다 forest-grown trees. Open up grown trees are capable of producing one fifty percent gallon the syrup in one season (15 come 20 gallons of sap), conversely, trees farming in a forest setting generally produce about one quart of syrup (about 10 gallons that sap). In addition to greater sap volume and sweetness, open up grown trees generally offer greater access for sap collection.


Most the the equipment required because that tapping may be obtainable in the house workshop or purchased v minimal investment. Buckets, covers, and spiles (also called spouts) are easily accessible from maple devices dealers and also many hardware stores. Other feasible sap containers encompass clean plastic milk jugs or plastic containers v covers. The equipment for handling sap will require greater investment, yet will last for many years if kept properly. Used devices may it is in purchased however use judgement and also acquire just equipment cost-free of rust and also fabricated of food-grade materials. Adhering to is a argued list that equipment and materials for making maple syrup because that home-use.

carpenter"s hand brace or chest drill with 7/16 inch diameter drill bitspile (or spout), either metal or plastic because that each tapholebucket through cover, plastic sap repertoire bag, or plastic tube (food great materials)collection or warehouse containers, such together plastic or steel trash can be ~ (several gallons in capacity and leakfree) because that sap storage before processing. Storage volume of 1 come 2 gallons because that each insanity (ex. 25 taps = 25 to 50 gallons storage) should be adequate.pan v high sides and also a heat resource for boil sap. The pan dimension will vary with the variety of taps. Heat source can be timber fire, propane or camp stove. Stainless steel pans fabricated through lead-free solder or welded seams are strongly suggested.thermometer calibrated come at least 30oF above the boiling allude of water. Kitchen or liquid thermometers might be adequate yet must be easily readable over approved filter because that filtering warm finished syrupcontainers for storage that the finished product (canning jars, syrup jugs, etc.)



Tap maple trees in early spring once daytime temperature go over freezing while nighttime temperatures fall below freezing. The exact time counts on the elevation and also location of her trees and your region. In Pennsylvania and also southern regions of new York, very first sap circulation traditionally takes ar in mid- to late-February. In north regions and at greater elevations, the season often begins in early on to mid-March. Sap typically flows because that 4 come 6 mainly or as long as the freeze nights and warm days continue. If you are uncertain around when to tap, consult through a adjacent maple producer or call your Office.

The minimum suggested tree diameter because that tapping is 10 customs in diameter (Note: not circumference) measured at 4½ feet above ground (see "Other sources of Information" because that making a diameter measurement stick). A quick and also easy means to determine the diameter that the tree is by using a family members measuring tape. This will give the circumference of the tree, which deserve to be converted to diameter native Table 1.

Table 1. Reminder for variety of taps per treeDiameter(inches)Circumference(inches)Number the taps

Tapholes need to be drilled as soon as temperatures are above freezing to minimize the risk of damages to the tree. Usage a 7/16 customs diameter drill (available native hardware stores or maple equipment dealers) in a hand brace or breast drill. Drill right into the tribe of the tree in an area that consists of sound hardwood (free that scars, wounds, or older tapholes). If sap will certainly be gathered in buckets, a elevation of 2 to three feet over ground level permits for easy collection. However, the height can vary depending on preferences, age, and size of the separation, personal, instance tapping the tree. If the tree has actually been tapped in vault years, find the brand-new taphole at least 6 inch laterally and 24 inches vertically native the old taphole to insure tapping into good, abundant sapwood.

For trees with an ext than one tap, distribution the tapholes roughly the one of the tree. Drill 2 to 2½ inches into the tree at a slight increase angle to facilitate flow of sap native the hole.

Notice the color of the shavings native the drill as you bore. Shavings must be light or cream colored, denote live healthy and balanced sapwood. Shavings that room dark brown indicate wood undesirable because that sap production, and also another taphole must be drilled at a new location.

After making sure that the brand-new taphole is free of shavings, insert the spile and seat it with a irradiate hammer. Tap, not pound, the spile in the taphole. Chair the spile effectively so it can support the bucket. Control the spile with pressure can break-up the bark delaying taphole closure and also causing a an extensive wound ~ above the tree for countless years (Figure 3). Carry out not law the taphole v disinfectants or other materials at the time of tapping. After removing spiles native the tapholes in ~ the end of the maple season, perform not plug the taphole. Tapping done properly will permit tapholes to close normally (covered through bark) in around two years and also will enable the tree to stay healthy and also productive for generations.


Figure 3. Taphole wound.

Plastic tubing might be offered in ar of buckets, yet its use will no be questioned here. For more information on making use of maple tubing, consult your maple equipment dealer, neighborhood maple producer, or Office.


The volume that sap accumulated during a flow period will differ from much less than a quart to number of gallons every tap, relying on the tree, weather conditions, and duration the the circulation or run. The sugar contents of sap varies in between trees, will fluctuate in between runs within a season, and also from year come year.

Collect sap everyday if possible. It can be filtered v a clean towel or file filter to remove debris if desired. Sap deserve to be save on computer in a clean tank (a 30 gallon storage deserve to works fine) for an ext convenient processing. The warehouse vessel need to be inserted in the shade to save the sap as fresh and cool as possible. Due to the fact that sap is a mixture of sugar and water, that is a perfect tool for bacter growth. Therefore, it should be collected and handle as easily as feasible to certain a higher quality product. Clean pails, one for each hand to offer far better balance, may be used for collecting sap native the trees for carry to the arsenal tank. As soon as using buckets, make certain each bucket has actually a cover to store rain water and other debris from contaminating the new sap (Figure 4).


Figure 4. Extended sap bucket.


Usually around 40 gallons that sap are compelled to develop one gallon of finished syrup. Actually this number can differ from 20 come 60 gallons or much more depending mostly on sap street content. A big amount the water have to be evaporated from the sap to create the perfect syrup the 66 to 67 percent sugar. Since the huge amount of steam caused by evaporation that the sap can be damaging to interior wall surfaces, the mass of the boiling have to be done exterior of the home.

For people with 50 or more taps, hobby-size continuous feed evaporators space commercially available. However, many hobbyists cook sap repeatedly in one pan end an open up fire, camp stove, or discarded gas range. Many pans (sap is included to the first, concentrated sap native the very first pan is included to the next, and also so on) offer an ext capacity with an ext efficiency and are regularly used by producer with much more experience. If wood fuel is used, a support (called one "arch") deserve to be created with concrete blocks to assistance the boil pan and administer a firebox. Dry great quality firewood is most preferable for a hot fire.

Before the fuel is ignited, to fill the pan with number of inches of sap. Transparent the boiling process, make certain the liquid level is deep sufficient (about 1½ inches) therefore the sap will not scorch and damage the pan. As sap is evaporated (liquid level reduced), add an ext sap. The faster the sap boils, the greater the potential for creating a higher quality product. This "batch" technique allows the sap come be handle to a allude near the last stage the evaporation. The more concentrated sap can then be finished with more controlled warmth on the kitchen range.

Sap becomes syrup (66-67% sugar content) at roughly 7¼oF over the boiling allude of water (ex. If water boils in ~ 212oF, suitable density because that syrup would be slightly over 219oF). Concentrations below 66% street content have the right to sour over time. If boiled above the 67% density of syrup, street crystals can type in the bottom of storage containers. The boiling point of water, i m sorry varies through elevation and daily changes in barometric pressure, is easily established by note the temperature in the raw sap as soon as it is boiling vigorously. Finished syrup will often "apron" or develop a large sheet or drip top top the leaf of a spoon when dipped in and also quickly withdrawn above the cook liquid. To preserve the experience of boil sap an enjoyable one, always exercise safety.

Throughout the process, excess foam may be skimmed off the surface of the cook sap and discarded. Many types of materials, such as butter or vegetable oil, have been offered to mitigate foaming. However, a commercial defoaming agent easily accessible in tiny containers indigenous maple equipment dealers is recommended. The defoamer have to be fresh, and also only a fall or two is needed. When supplied in small quantities, defoamers will evaporate there is no a noticeable map in the syrup.


When syrup has reached its proper temperature and also density, it should be filtered to remove a gritty material referred to as "sugar sand" or "niter" before hot pack in containers. The syrup have to be filtered while warm through clean filter material such together wool or orlon easily accessible from maple equipment dealers. Syrup must be canned hot (180oF) and also stored in a cool dry place or under refrigeration. After a container has been opened for use, it need to be refrigerated. Should mold form on syrup that has been save for numerous months, simply lug the syrup to near boiling (190oF), remove the mold through skimming, and also repack the syrup in a clean container.

The procedure above is plan for home manufacture of maple syrup. If syrup is to it is in marketed, grading and also labeling criter are required for retail sale in most maple creating states. Contact your Office or state department of farming for regulations covering maple products.

Cleanliness and also quality control

After a duration of warmth weather, cloudy sap may appear in buckets or gathering equipment. This is led to by bacter growth and also can have actually a an unfavorable affect top top syrup color and taste. A mixture the 1 component unscented family members bleach to 20 components clean water deserve to be supplied with a cloth or brush to clean the inside surfaces the sap repertoire equipment. Follow the cleaning v a triple wash of clean water to remove any kind of hint that the bleach application. Sap boiling tools can it is in cleaned with hot water, or the product encourage by the tools manufacturer. Do not use any kind of other clean substances in any kind of maple equipment. Household detergents can not be totally rinsed native equipment and will contaminate sap and syrup through undersirable tastes and odors. When washing sap or syrup filters, use warm water only. In ~ the end of the season after cleaning in the manner explained above, keep equipment and supplies in a dry place.

Equipment and also supplies

Production supplies and materials are obtainable from maple tools dealers transparent the maple producing regions. Numerous local hardware stores bring a little line of devices such as buckets and also spiles. Used tools is often readily available for sale in classified part of regional newspapers and agricultural circulars. A maple tools dealer or distributor nearest you can be situated by contacting your neighborhood Office, maple producer in your area, or with your county, regional, or state maple organization.

Other resources of Information

Tapping guidelines and also determining tree diameter. L.J. Staats and J.W. Kelley, Dept. Of herbal Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.North American Maple Syrup producers Manual. Solitary copies are accessible from county, regional, and state maple producer organizations or from; Ohio State university, publications Office, 385 Kottman Hall, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1044. Phone: 614-292-1607.Educational videos for maple producers; Sugarbush Management, Maple Sap Production, Maple Sap Processing, developed by Cornell participating Each video clip is around 25 minutes and also can it is in ordered from: Cornell University source Center, 7 business & Tech. Park, Ithaca, NY 14850. Phone call 607-255-2090.

"Funding because that this publishing was listed in component by the new York Maple producers Association, and also the Pennsylvania Ben Franklin technology Center, Pennsylvania Maple producer Council, and the Pennsylvania Hardwoods advancement Committee and also is considerably appreciated."

The authors recognize the complying with individuals for evaluation of this bulletin: Jim Finley, Bob Hansen, H. Lee Hoar, Marianne Krasny, Paul Curtis, and also Peter Smallidge.

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Prepared by Anni L. Davenport, former educator and also Lewis J. Staats, department of organic Resources, Cornell University, Cornell participating