Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

First Time Tapping For Maple Syrup

We have successfully completed two maple sap runs this year!  We have 24 taps that are collecting sap in metal buckets and we're boiling it over an open fire.  There are only 2 sugar maples and the rest are silver or red maples.  From what I read, silver and red maples produce a lower quantity of sap, less sugar to sap ratio, and make a cloudy syrup.  According to some, it's not worth tapping silver and red maples.  Well, we decided to go ahead and tap the trees anyway and find out for ourselves.

 


We have completed 2 small boils.  The first one was boiled over a fire in the picture on the left and the flavor was smokey.  To help draw smoke away from the syrup, Jon revised the fire setup and made a chimney as shown in the second picture.  The second setup was an improvement but too much heat went up the chimney so Jon is revising it again before the next boil.  From the picture on the right you can see a pot sitting on the chimney; that is water boiling for lunch and hot chocolate!  A piece of sheet metal covered the entrance when the wind was blowing.



 Transporting the syrup around the property can be a challenge with mountainous terrain and trees not located near trails.  With our small operation of only 24 trees located in 3 main areas, we decided to haul the sap in a hiking backpack!  The pack can hold one of those 4 gallon water coolers real easily.  In one of the pictures you can see Jon and Paul pouring the sap into a funnel that pours into one of the water coolers inside the hiking pack.  It's a pretty easy system enabling us to have our hands free in case we fall or need to push tree branches out of the way.  This is a much better system than carrying buckets!  We don't mind the extra work because this is how we get exercise...no need for a gym membership when we have mountains to climb and sap to haul!  Instead of an ATV, we use a wheel barrow, and instead of a chainsaw, we use a handsaw.  Jon and I try to maintain a simple lifestyle and this is one way we accomplish that.




When filtering the syrup, we used 2 layers of clean scrap fabric for filtering out ashes and other solids; and a wool filter was used right before bottling for collecting sugar sand and other small particles.  I took the picture after the fact, but I wanted to show you how we managed to prop up the wool filter by using a fruit masher/strainer.  We didn't realize how large this filter was when we ordered it but we still use it!

All of the maple syrup supplies were purchased used except for the wool filter.  The total cost of supplies, including shipping was: $286.94

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About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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