Early Season Boiling Maple Sap Into Syrup And Its Flowing Heavily
It is early February and the maple sap is flowing heavily already. I have never tapped this early before but I am happy that I did. We are boiling maple sap into syrup today and I am running around collecting the sap by the gallons.
I tapped the trees about two weeks ago already, in January. We had an early thaw and I could probably have tapped in mid January this year. When I did tap a tree, the sap was flowing out heavily. So I put in about 70 taps during the next couple days and started to collect sap.
In the first few days all I got was about 15 gallons of sap because it turned cold the next day. We had a period of colder days following so there was no more sap flow from our trees.
But on this day the sap was flowing like faucets out of the trees. Many of the trees gave me two gallons a piece today. I was running around all over the place gathering up the sap in food grade 5 gallon buckets all day long. Chris was out in the sugar shack tending the fire to keep boiling the raw maple sap down into syrup.
It was literally a full time job taking care of just the 70 taps that I have in right now. Due to the rock walls all over the land, I cannot use our garden tractor to get to all the trees in the woods. We would need a tractor to move the larger rocks. Right now I just have to haul the buckets by hand. If we were to stay on this land I would clear paths for future ease of work on the maple trees.
Many maple tree taps out in the woods this year
There are 56 acres of land here and it is full of maple trees. Maple and oak dominate the woods here. I already have 70 taps in and this only covers maybe half an acre of land. There are many more trees here to tap. I figure that there are enough maple trees here to start a full maple syrup business which would pay your yearly income.
But in order to do this you must have some money to develop the business. We are just not that stable right now.
So we are boiling maple syrup on a homemade boiling system which I made last year using an old house wood furnace. I had cut off the top and the shielding. Then I cut into the top of the fire box to fit two stainless steel pans. This puts the pans directly over the fire. In this way I get maximum heat transfer into the maple sap which boils it off into the air.
You have to boil about 20 - 40 gallons of raw maple sap in order to get 1 gallon of pure maple syrup. This depends on the sugar content of the raw sap and can vary from tree to tree and through the seasons.
Chris kept the fire going while I hauled fire wood and sap into the sugar shack. Our sugar shack is made entirely of pallets and has stood over a year now with no problem. It keeps out the dirt, wind and rain so that we can keep working no matter the weather. In previous years I lost a lot of sap due to bad weather because I was boiling outside in an exposed area. The rain would put the fires out and get the fire wood all wet.
This year I am ready to work and boil some serious maple syrup.
Boiling raw maple sap into maple syrup
But I have learned today that I will need two more boiling stations in order to keep up with the maple sap flow from my 70 taps. I collected about 50 gallons of raw sap while boiling about 20 gallons down during this day. And this was only collecting the one gallon containers that were overflowing. I filled all my five gallon buckets and then moved on to filling drinking water containers. I ran out of containers for now.
There are still about 20 gallons of sap out in the woods waiting to be collected. Most of the containers are about half full already and the sap is still flowing.
We have to be able to boil this sap down faster or we are not going to keep up with the sap flow once the season really starts.
Chris and I are going to build two more boiling stations so that we can handle the flow.
You can watch today's video here: Boiling Early Maple Sap Harvest And Its Flowing Like Faucets
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