Home-Scale Maple Syrup Production


| 2/19/2016 9:48:00 AM


Tags: maple syrup, maple tapping, Eric Reuter, Missouri,

 

Maple tree and collection bucket, Joanna Reuter.

Tapping maple trees for home production is practical and productive, even outside the traditional northern maple zone. Here in central Missouri, we’ve produced excellent syrup and other maple products in three of the last four years (we didn’t tap trees in 2015).

We only tap three trees per year, which each yield up to three gallons of sap per day when conditions are right. At this scale, we don’t have a dedicated sugar house or other infrastructure, so have developed methods that allow us to make syrup as needed without significant additional investment. In addition, we’ve settled on a method of freezing partly-concentrated sap as a low-effort way to preserve maple flavor, using it as a refreshing drink base throughout the year.

Collection

We use a simple home sugaring kit purchased from Tap My Trees in 2013, consisting of three buckets, taps, and hangers. We set these up in late winter or early spring, when the weather appears to be moving toward the proper conditions of days above freezing and nights below.

Here in the lower Midwest, we don’t always get these conditions reliably for a long stretch; it’s easy for our weather to yo-yo from the 20s into the 60s, disrupting the trees’ sap run and making reliable maple collection harder. We might have a good sap run for a few days, then a week or more of nothing, then another run. Thus we’ve needed to develop ways to handle and process whatever sap we do get, in whatever time frame it comes, without expensive permanent infrastructure.




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