note: this is a reprint from a few postings i wrote last year. i had hope to tap this year and create an entirely new posting but the flu attacked our household and i was completely wiped out during the peak tapping time…
this tree was large enough that i could tap it with 2 stiles
i had hoped to tap a few weeks ago but didn’t get around to it. the weather is perfect though…days in the 40′s, nights in the 20′s.
today, i drilled two taps for a maple tree in our front yard on the west side of the house. it is a silver maple as all our maples are but it is a multi-branching tree which is supposed to produce higher amounts of sap than the straight trunked trees which is what i tapped last year.
a close-up of the actual tap. i drilled it with a 3/8′s drill bit in about 2″. the end of the spout is in the opening of the bottle. i used a twisty tie to secure the bottle via its handle onto the spile. i tried a few different methods, this one was the easiest to remove for emptying purposes and tight enough to keep the bottle from moving a lot during winds which can cause the spile to drip the sap onto the ground.
it takes a minimum of 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. last year i think i ended up with a quart? i don’t remember but it was delicious.
i’d love to put away at least a gallon but i don’t think i’ll reach that goal this year. but, any amount i put away saves me lots of $$ as i spend at least $9 per quart (maybe more, i don’t have my receipts in front of me).
last year, the spouts ran into buckets that i covered with trash bags to keep out the rain and bugs. this year, i washed out gallon vinegar bottles and have the spouts running directly into the bottles. i cut a small hole in the corner of a gallon zip lock bag and pulled it over the spout first to protect the opening from rain/bugs. i can just bring out new bottles and switch them out every day since i have several empty vinegar bottles (i use vinegar in the wash with every load in the fabric softener dispenser.)
last year, i boiled it down in the kitchen which was workable but awful humid. this year, i think i’ll try it outdoors on the gas camp stove. (note: now that we have the wood stove, i’ll probably cook it down on the wood stove which has a lot more open space to let the humidity disperse…this year it would have been a good thing having all that extra humidity in the house with us all being congested).
i am tapping 2 weeks earlier this year than last…i tapped very late last year and it only lasted about 2 weeks, tops. next year, i hope to tap mid-january.