We thought that we would write a short update regarding our maple syrup making practices, as our methods and tools have improved over the last few years.
First of all, we have changed our taps. After doing some research, we learned that the smaller the hole left in the tree at the end of the year, the better. This didn’t really come as a surprise, but reading about it gave us the motivation to buy professionally made taps. These only require a half inch hole, and have a barbed end that allows a plastic tube to be run off the tap. This tube allows us to run the sap from our taps into 5 gallon pails on the ground, another improvement over our previous system, as they are less likely to overflow or blow down.
Second, we have improved our syrup boiler. The first year, we boiled off the sap on the stove in the house because we didn’t have the ability to use a larger wood boiler outside. Boiling in the house was very time consuming and made the house very humid. To fix this problem, we purchased a large boiling pan and built what is called a maple syrup arch. A syrup arch is a small burning chamber with a chimney positioned in such a way as to cause the hot gasses to run along the bottom of the boiling pan. Using the syrup arch cut down the boiling time dramatically and allowed us to save money on natural gas. We still finish boiling the syrup in the house were we have more control and are less likely to burn it.
That wraps up the update of our maple syrup operation. It isn’t an overly complex process, but it does take time and effort. Hopefully reading this will inspire you to try your hand at maple syrup tapping next year!