Five Tips on Making Maple Syrup at Home
Let’s start with a quick fact: did you know that Franklin County, VT has one of the highest densities of tapped sugar maples in the world? Living here, there are most likely sugar maples around your property, whether it’s on your land, the neighbor’s or by the road. Here are 5 tips to easily start making your own maple syrup at home this season!
1. Use 5 gallons pails. We all know about the traditional buckets hanging from the trees. However, you might want to consider collecting sap using 5 gallon pails, connected to your tap with a section of sap line. They are usually easy to find and will hold more sap, giving you more time to collect the sap in your busy schedule. The handle on the pail also makes collection much easier!'
2. Burn wood. The temptation of using gas for boiling is strong but don’t underestimate how much water needs to evaporate! On big days, you’ll most likely go through several 20L tanks! Think about using wood instead: maybe a little dirty but much cheaper (free for many of us).
3. Finish your syrup on the side. It is very difficult to bring your syrup to the perfect density on a hobby wood-fired evaporator. I usually recommend drawing off your syrup a few degrees early and finishing it on the stove or on a turkey fryer, where you have more control over the temperature.
4. Talk to your local maple equipment dealer. Consider talking to an expert before jumping into sugarmaking. They can help you avoid potential mistakes and let you focus on tip #5.
5. HAVE FUN! This is the most important thing of all! Have fun, involve the kids, invite friends (if Vermont safety guidelines allow it). This is the best time of the year for creating memories of a lifetime!
Guest Author: David Lalanne is the operations manager at CDL USA and runs a family sugaring operation of 25,000 taps with his father and grandfather. He is currently raising the fourth generation in his Fairfax home.