Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Maple Syrup Season

Tapping Maple Trees
By the end of February each winter we start to go a bit stir crazy. We are tired of the cold, the snow, carrying so much firewood and worrying about the animal's water freezing. However when the first of March rolls around it's usually on a happy note, because I know there is not much time left before we start tapping maple trees for sap.

This year we have been very fortunate, the winter temperatures never got really cold (I think -12° F was the coldest) and we got little snow. This past week has started to feel like spring, and the maple trees got tapped.

My husband loves gathering all the buckets, spiles, drill and bit to begin tapping. Last Saturday he tapped 60 trees and already we are cooking down a lot of sap.

Each night we dump the buckets in to a large barrel which goes back home with us and we dip from it to fill our pots in the house.

Barrel For Sap
We cook all our syrup down in our house on the wood stove and sometimes on the gas stove to finish it off.

Cooking Down Sap
The syrup gets used year 'round for baking, cooking, flavoring, sweetening, brewing and snacking (we have been known to eat it with a spoon!)

So I know spring can't be far away...there's a smell of maple in the air!

Tapping Maple Trees

This post was entered into the "Grow Your Own" roundup, created by Andrea's Recipes and hosted this month by House of Annie.


  1. Fantastic. I miss New England this time of year and this post brings me right back. Do you reduce the sap just like you would a sauce? Over low heat for a low time?

  2. We have indeed been very fortunate with how this winter played out. I'd completely forgotten how to harvest sap until this past weekend when family friends called to ask if they could tap our woods. I went along and relived a cherished memory. There is NOTHING like warm, cooked-down sap poured over a bowl of crisp, clean snow. I time-warped back 40 years!

  3. Oh yum!!!!Wish I could be there for this wonderful time of year.

  4. I grew up in MN and WI and remember people who tapped trees. We did not (probably because there weren't any on our property. Instead, we would go to an annual pancake breakfast at a near by arboretum for the tastes of fresh maple syrup and support the arboretum too.

    One of the things I missed when we moved to Palm Springs, CA was the seasons changes - oh sure the seasons change everywhere, but in different ways. In PS, CA we went from 70F to 110F and straight into summer. But Spring did mean picking citrus there. Now living in So. TX we have spring again and on the newly planted fruit trees life is started to push through. Living in a zone 9 with signs of spring is lovely.

    I do wish we would have learned the whole art of tapping maple trees when we lived up north. I guess now it is nice that you are out there showing me (and others).

    Thanks for sharing it with us! Emily

  5. Thank you all for your comments :)

    We boil the sap over high heat for a very long time. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Most people do it outside. We do it indoors because our house can handle it (high ceilings and no wall paper to fall off our walls from all the steam); if the house gets too hot I open the windows, which I am thrilled to do this time of year.

  6. Wow, real, homemade maple syrup. There's nothing better! Thanks for sharing.

    Since you're harvesting your own maple syrup, I'd like you to come show off your post in our "Grow Your Own" roundup this month. To participate, find the details here:


  7. This is fascinating - thanks so much for sharing with us. Not something I'm familiar with at all - I shall look at those bottles of Maple Syrup in the supermarket, with renewed interest! Clare Chick

  8. Thanks, Clare Chick. Glad you enjoyed!