poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Sugar-maple

maple syrup time

with 16 comments

Well, the time has finally arrived.  The nights are cold and the days this week are predicted to be sunny and warm.  In our house the combination of cold days and warm nights means the sap is moving in our maple trees.

We tap Red Maple (Acer rubrum L.), although Sugar-maple (Acer saccharum Marsh) is preferred by commercial syrup producers.  Last year we tapped 12 trees, about at the edge of our low-tech capability.  This year we are tapping 10 trees.

We usually use the ‘old-fashioned’ spile and aluminum bucket method.  This year, for the first time, my husband is trying a plastic spile and pipe system for 5 of our taps.  It seems a little easier since the sap drips directly into a plastic reservoir and this eliminates one step in the endless pouring process.

For those of you unfamiliar with tapping trees for sap, the basic idea is to collect the sap and boil it down to make maple syrup.  We select a tree, bore a hole, insert a spile and hang a bucket on the spile hook.  The spile is a cleverly designed spigot which channels the sap from inside the tree into the bucket.  The bucket is fitted with a cover to keep out rainwater or snow and reduce insect access.

So far this year, we have collected 25 liters of sap.  This will boil down at about 40 to 1 to make a little more than 500 ml of syrup (about 2 cups).  Last year, from a season total of 329 liters of sap, we made about 40 pint jars of syrup.  If you try to calculate that at 40 to 1, it will never come out correctly since we don’t boil all of the sap to the same concentration and we drink some of the sap as a sweet drink.

Collecting maple sap is so much fun.  It is good exercise and a great way to get your dose of warm spring sunshine.  And, we have enough maple syrup to last for the year.

I’ll be keeping you up to date on our maple syrup adventures this year.  Right now, the pot full of sap is boiling on the deck.



sugar song


cold nights

warm days

cold nights


sap plucks stainless steel

different rhythm, every tap

quick and dead slow

in sync

with the downy woodpecker

or the bird with the round warble in its throat



©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

March 19, 2012 at 8:01 am

%d bloggers like this: