How To Make Maple Syrup
In many places in the northeast and midwest, maple syrup season signals the start of spring, and there’s no replacement for real, natural maple syrup. After you have it, those high fructose laden “pancake syrups” that you see in the grocery store will never do.
Step 1: Find Your Trees
Start off by finding a tree. There are several types of maples, and although the sugar maple is the best because it has the highest sugar content, any maple tree will work. A maple tree should have leaves and seeds that look like this. There are also many websites that can help you identify a maple by the bark. The tree needs to be a minimum of 12" in diameter, and if your tree is more than 20" in diameter it can take to taps.
Many other trees other than maples can be used. Pecan trees make a fabulous syrup, but I’ve heard of people using sweet gum, birch, box elder, among others. Each species will have its own unique flavor.
Step 2: Add the Spiles
Get your spile (the tap that goes into the tree). These are only a couple of bucks apiece and can be found all over the internet. You will want to drill a hole, typically 5/16" (the spile will tell you what size to drill) a couple of inches deep into the trunk. Try to drill about chest height, and drill slightly upward to help the sap drip downward. Then, using a small hammer or mallet, drive the spile into the hole you drilled. A one-gallon bucket works well for me, but you can use any size you like. Just remember, the larger the bucket the less frequently you’ll need to empty it, but the heavier it will be.
Some large scale producers use hoses and vacuum lines to pull the sap from the tree and to a storage tank, but if you’re only tapping a few trees in your backyard, that isn’t necessary.
Step 3: Collect Sap
The sap will be clear and will taste like water with a very slight sweetness to it. Sap flows the best when it gets into the 40s during the day but below freezing at night. I’ve been known to get 3 gallons from a tree on a good day, and less than a quart the next. It all depends on the weather.
You’ll want to store the sap until you have several gallons to work with. I recommend checking the buckets a minimum of once a day, and dumping it into a large food-grade container and storing it in a fridge or freezer. It will take a LOT of sap to make a little bit of syrup.
Step 4: Boil It Down
It takes about 40 gallons of syrup to make a gallon of syrup. This varies depending on the sugar content of the sap, but this is a good rough estimate.
Professionals have a “sugar shack” with a huge, flat vessel for the sap. They build a fire under the vessel to boil it down. I only have 2 trees tapped, so I am not going to that extreme. I use a propane-fired turkey fryer. I get about 10 gallons of sap and start boiling. Be aware, if you do this on the stove, this creates a LOT of steam, and you can make every surface in your house sticky. I’ve even heard of people boiling huge pots inside and waterlogging the drywall on the ceiling. If you don’t have a pot big enough, remember you can continue to dump in more sap as it boils down. Once it starts to thicken, you can bring in the maple concentrate and finish on the stove if you like.
As it boils, the sugar concentrates and begins to caramelize making that dark brown color. As the water boils off, the boiling point of the liquid increases. When the liquid reaches 7 degrees above the boiling point of water in your area (219 degrees F at sea level) it’s done.
Step 5: Finishing/storing
Once it’s syrup, you can pour it into bottles and keep it in the fridge.
For long term storage, you can pour it into sterilized mason jars and put it into a boiling bath canner. Contact your local extension office for times in your area.
How To Make Maple Syrup At Home
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple flavored extract
- Bring the water, white sugar, and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in the maple extract; simmer 3 minutes longer.
Two cups of brown sugar can be used for a thicker syrup.
51 calories; 0 g total fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 2 mg sodium. 13 g carbohydrates; 0 g protein;
How Much Sap To Make Maple Syrup
Usually, about 40 gallons of sap are required to produce one gallon of finished syrup. Actually this figure can vary from 20 to 60 gallons or more depending primarily on sap sugar content. A large amount of water must be evaporated from the sap to produce the finished syrup of 66 to 67 percent sugar.
How To Make Maple Syrup Candy
If you crave the sweet maple candies sold at tourist shops, you need not wait until your next vacation to enjoy them, Make them right away and enjoy with your family.
1 lb candy
2 cups pure light-grade maple syrup, (Grade A Golden Delicate)
A few drops of vegetable oil or butter
- Fill a large pot partially with water. Bring to a boil, and note the temperature of the boiling water with a candy thermometer. (Since water boils at different temperatures in different locations, it is important to follow this step.) Set some candy molds into a jelly-roll pan. Set aside. (If using metal or wood molds, lightly grease them.)
- Empty the large pot and place the syrup in it. Add a few drops of oil. (Boiling maple syrup will foam up; the oil keeps the foam down. Buttering the rim of the pot will also help.)
- Boil carefully over high heat, without stirring, until the temperature of the boiling syrup is 28°F/17°C above the boiling point of your water (212°F/100°C at sea level).
- Remove from the heat and let cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Do not stir or disturb the candy at this point; if the thermometer is attached to the pan, leave it there during the cooling period.
- Stir evenly until the liquid loses its gloss, starts to become opaque, and begins to thicken. (This is the tricky part; if you stir too long the thickened syrup will “set up,” or harden, in the pan. If this happens, add a cup of water, and reheat slowly to dissolve the sugar, then start over. But if you don’t stir long enough, the sugar may not “set up” in the molds at all.)
- Carefully pour the candy into the molds. It’s helpful to have an assistant spread the syrup in the molds while you continue to pour the mixture into the other molds.
- Allow the candies to cool, remove from the molds, place on a rack to dry for a few hours, and enjoy.
How To Make Brown Sugar With Maple Syrup
Traditionally, brown sugar is made using a mix of granulated white sugar and molasses.
If you don’t have molasses on hand, you can easily swap it out for maple syrup with almost no change to your recipe’s final product.
Combine 1 cup (200 grams) of granulated white sugar with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of pure maple syrup to make a brown sugar substitute that can fool even the most sophisticated palette.
Combine 1 cup (200 grams) of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of maple syrup to make an almost-perfect brown sugar substitute.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How long does it take to make maple syrup?
Boiling 10 gallons of sap down to 1/2 gallon took 3 hours (using 3 pans). We brought the almost- syrup into the house and spent another 20 minutes finishing it on the stove.
2. Should I refrigerate maple syrup?
Maple syrup does not really need to be refrigerated. However, refrigerating maple syrup will retard the growth of mold. If a container of unrefrigerated maple syrup is not checked often, enough mold may grow in the syrup, to ruin the flavor of the syrup.
3. How long do you boil sap to make maple syrup?
Boil concentrated sap in the kitchen until it reaches a temperature of 7 degrees over the boiling point of water (varies with elevation). Skim off foam, if necessary. Pour into sterilized canning jars, leaving appropriate headspace, and cover with sterilized lids and rings. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
4. Can a diabetic eat maple syrup?
It is occasionally claimed that diabetics can use Pure Maple syrup and sugar without adverse effects. Most diabetics can consume some sugar in conservative amounts. Even those without diabetes should not be consuming large amounts of sugars. … Sucrose, the main sugar in Pure Maple, has a glycemic index of about 68.
5. Is maple syrup anti-inflammatory?
Sugary foods aren’t exactly revered for their health benefits, but maple syrup may be an exception. Researchers say they have found special anti** - **inflammatory properties inside maple syrup and this finding could lead to the creation of powerful new medicines for serious diseases, like cancer.