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My family has developed an addiction to maple syrup, buying it will put you in the poorhouse, and some of it is processed to boot...

A bit over two weeks ago I started setting taps in a few of the sugar maples on our property and gathering sap. Yesterday I worked on the first boil of the season and started with a bit over 7 gallons, which ended up 12 oz of fresh deliciousness!

I’m slowly adding more taps trying to get up to 2-3 pints of syrup a week to have enough to supply us for the year and perhaps to even give a few away as gifts to friends and family.
 

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Nice! the last time I did it a few years ago I boiled over 100 gallons of sap- about 1 gallon of syrup.
 

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Man, that seems like a lot of trouble for such a small payoff. I guess I've never had good syrup.
 

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WOW!! 7 gallons for 12 oz of syrup means a 75:1 ratio. Or, 100 gallons of sap for 1 gallon of syrup means a 100:1 ratio. I had always thought that the normal ratio was 40:1. More info here.

I wonder if using the turkey fryer instead of a normal setup in a sugaring house affects the output. I'm glad you guys posted your experiences before I started tapping my maples trees.
 

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Man, that seems like a lot of trouble for such a small payoff. I guess I've never had good syrup.
There really any much real “labor” involved. You set taps, takes a minute or so each-gather sap daily, if your containers are small, or every few days in buckets. The boil is a bit more technical, but again-not really difficult or labor intensive-just watching and waiting.

The hardest part is making sure everything is clean and disinfected to start and waiting for a few minutes of we’ll timed activity.

And yes the real thing, fresh from your own trees on your pancakes/waffles/French toast is without compare. That colored corn syrup bought at the store is inedible after you have the good stuff!
 

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There really any much real “labor” involved. You set taps, takes a minute or so each-gather sap daily, if your containers are small, or every few days in buckets. The boil is a bit more technical, but again-not really difficult or labor intensive-just watching and waiting.

The hardest part is making sure everything is clean and disinfected to start and waiting for a few minutes of we’ll timed activity.

And yes the real thing, fresh from your own trees on your pancakes/waffles/French toast is without compare. That colored corn syrup bought at the store is inedible after you have the good stuff!
You mean aunt Jemima's isn't the real stuff?:banghead:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
WOW!! 7 gallons for 12 oz of syrup means a 75:1 ratio. Or, 100 gallons of sap for 1 gallon of syrup means a 100:1 ratio. I had always thought that the normal ratio was 40:1. More info here.

I wonder if using the turkey fryer instead of a normal setup in a sugaring house affects the output. I'm glad you guys posted your experiences before I started tapping my maples trees.
The rule of thumb ratio is 40:1 true but that can be effected by a LOT of factors, time of year, type of trees, part of the season, precipitation, the list goes on. We just had a large (3’ or so) snowmelt and near record rains for almost 3 days, I’d be willing to bet all that water in the ground around my trees diluted the sap I was gathering and made that ratio so poor. Think about it this way, at 40:1 the starting sap sugar content is supposed to be something like 2-3%, at roughly double that (75:1) I was gathering sap at something like 1-1.5%, that’s not out of the question.

As far as method is concerned, I really can’t see how that effected the physical process of removing the water from the sap to concentrate it to syrup. The sugar percentage of syrup is 66%, and all the boil does regardless of shape, heat source or construction of the vessel is remove the water from the sap to render it from its starting sugar content to that 66%. It’s the same principle as moving a pile of dirt/rocks/mulch. I did it with the equivalent of a shovel, sugaring shacks use the equivalent of the loader bucket in our tractors. Both do the same work and move the pile, they just use a different method.
 

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Cold nights and sunny days! I remember doing this with my grandfather. We used to dip snowballs into the syrup, making our version of a snow cone. And yes, once you've had homemade maple syrup you'll never want to go back. Luckily I know a few people around who do boils, so once in a while they'll give me a jar.
 

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I actually removed my paper birch trees from the kill list on my timber sale so we could tap them for syrup someday. I'll do the same with my maples as well. I just can't see doing it when we're not living up there. Too much time to spend away from the family for what ends up a luxury item.
 

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Part of why I love this forum. People who actually do things and report on it.:good2:

Question. I understand most syrups are corn syrup with flavoring added. When I buy real 100% maple syrup isn’t it the same as homemade?:dunno:
 

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A local AG show on PBS talked to some Virginia maple syrup farmers,,

They stated good sugar water was 2%,, but due to the early sap rising, the water will only be 1% this season,
1% requires 100 gallons to make 1 gallon of finished syrup.

The one guy uses a reverse osmosis machine to remove the water,,
his best year ever was 2900 gallons of syrup. A low year is 800 gallons of syrup.
That is from 1600 acres of trees.

According to my math,, there is no profit in the syrup.
How many people would be needed to do 1600 acres of trees?? :dunno:

800 gallons would sell for $51,000,, that ain't much :gizmo:
Even 3X or 4X that much money would not seem to be enough,, :flag_of_truce:

How many miles of plastic tube would 1600 acres of trees need??
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just curious - how long did it take to boil down the 7 gallons of sap?
I’ve read that backyard processing like mine with a turkey fryer style pot could expect to boil off 1 gallon +/- of water an hour. I started at 8am and was canning the syrup just after 2 pm so I’d say that’s about right.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Part of why I love this forum. People who actually do things and report on it.:good2:

Question. I understand most syrups are corn syrup with flavoring added. When I buy real 100% maple syrup isn’t it the same as homemade?:dunno:
Correct-most syrup is corn syrup with flavoring added, the maple varieties just add maple flavoring. Anything labeled 100% pure maple syrup SHOULD be very close to what you could make at home, but if it’s from a large processor or not explicitly labeled 100% pure you’d never really know what exactly is in it or how’s it was made.

Despite having 100% pure Maple syrup available to buy, I’d say homemade is superior, thus not really the “same”.
 

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Part of why I love this forum. People who actually do things and report on it.:good2:
:thumbup1gif:
We seem to have threads on this subject every year. Maybe balrog006 can ask a Moderator to change the title of this one to "Maple Sugaring 2018".
I do like following along but it's hard to find some of the older threads.
 

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When I do it, I use a big copper pan, I think it holds around 15 gallons at a time. I put it over an open wood fire, and run it hot enough that there isn't much smoke. It takes about 6 hrs to get through 100 gallons.
 

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A local AG show on PBS talked to some Virginia maple syrup farmers,,

They stated good sugar water was 2%,, but due to the early sap rising, the water will only be 1% this season,
1% requires 100 gallons to make 1 gallon of finished syrup.

The one guy uses a reverse osmosis machine to remove the water,,
his best year ever was 2900 gallons of syrup. A low year is 800 gallons of syrup.
That is from 1600 acres of trees.

According to my math,, there is no profit in the syrup.
How many people would be needed to do 1600 acres of trees?? :dunno:

800 gallons would sell for $51,000,, that ain't much :gizmo:
Even 3X or 4X that much money would not seem to be enough,, :flag_of_truce:

How many miles of plastic tube would 1600 acres of trees need??
And then there was the great Maple Syrup Heist, very interesting writup
on that and the Canadian maple syrup industry:
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/12/maple-syrup-heist
 

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:thumbup1gif:
We seem to have threads on this subject every year. Maybe balrog006 can ask a Moderator to change the title of this one to "Maple Sugaring 2018".
I do like following along but it's hard to find some of the older threads.

I have only been on a year and I see many things come up again and again. We are old. :laugh:


And then there was the great Maple Syrup Heist, very interesting writup
on that and the Canadian maple syrup industry:
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/12/maple-syrup-heist
There is a show on Netflix about this. Was good.:good2:

Search Dirty Money episode 5
 
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