HOW IS MAPLE SYRUP MADE?
Sap being pumped into sap
tank in Sap House.
It is being filtered
and at this point has only 2% sugar.
Mature Maple Trees, drill, spiles, tubing
or buckets, hammer, warm clothes and warm days in the 40's and cool
nights in the 20's and
patience and fortitude!
Usually in February, Syrup Producers
across the northeast
prepare their equipment, setting up their tubing lines in preparation
of Sap Season.
the weather gets a little warmer in the beginning of March, they
go out and drill holes in the trees, tap in the spiles with
and attach the tubing (or buckets). From this point on it's a
waiting game for the weather to co-operate with the Sap Producer.
a lot of prayer (and some cursing) go into Sap Season.
evaporator that boils off the water from the sap has a
fire that is 3000 degrees and burns 1/2 a ton of slab wood
an hour. This is the fire box of our evaporator that is
weather changes to warm days in the 40s and cool nights in the
20s, the sap starts to flow. The trees are tricked by the
into thinking that it's spring by day and winter at night. During
the day, they send their sap to the top of the tree, on it's way
up we "tap" some
of it, not harming the tree in the process. At night, the tree
sends its sap back down to the roots thinking it's winter again.
day we begin the cycle again. This continues until it warms up
during the night as well as the day, then the sap stays up in the
the season is over. Sap season may last up to six weeks in a good
To make sure the syrup is syrup and determine the grade (or color)
we use a hydrometer and grading kit.
Every day during Sap Season we bring the sap
to the Sap House and "boil
it down". The sap gets boiled until it's over 219 degrees
; its density changes and the sugar in the sap concentrates while
water evaporates. It's tricky business because sap can burn easily
and be ruined.
Nowadays we use finishing pans to complete the process,
readying the syrup for bottling. We test for grade by color and
bottle accordingly. Usually the first syrup produced in the season
is the lightest, which we call Light Amber. Then, as the season
progresses, the darker syrups are produced. This is due to the bacterial
in the sap, which is due to warmer days. Luckily, maple trees produce
a harmless bacteria that is burned off during boiling.
is the hot syrup coming off the finishing pan and being filtered
for the last time. We are filtering out the sugar sand or
minerals that are present in the syrup. This sugar sand if left
wouldn't affect the flavor but would make it cloudy
give it a granular texture.
Here's Caroline (right) bottling the
syrup in the custom jugs used at Maple Hill Farm. The syrup is
at 180 to 200 degrees when it
is bottled. It's about midnight, a typical time to be bottling
The Maple Syrup on your pancakes today is Pure,
produced only by boiling out the water and is actually beneficial
to your health as a sugar substitute.
This spring, come and visit your local Sap House
or come to Maple Hill Farm and join in this time-honored tradition