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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Checked my taps tonight and the maple trees are running very well in Washtenaw County. Only had a cup of sap in one jug, but the other three taps had some dampness running down the tree. I drilled a new tap on another tree tonight and it was running freely.

Get your taps in, because this week will have ideal conditions, with daytime temps in the upper 30s-40s and night time temps below freezing.
 

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the temps are going to be there the end of this week, but no sunshine until next week...I'd like to see a normal run this year, the last few years have been really erratic and strange up here.
 

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Put mine in tonight.. Ill let you know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Checked the taps tonight - still running strong! This week promises to be excellent conditions, with daytime temps pushing 50 and night time temps still below or near freezing.

One tree in particular is a gusher - about a gallon every two days. The other trees are producing about a quart every two days.

I have 6 taps in right now, will probably add one more to make 7. Looking to be a good year, I've been boiling a little so I don't fill my freezer completely full with frozen sap! ;)
 

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OK, I'm going to show my ignorance here. What in the world would you want a bucket of sap for? :confused:

As I was typing this I thought of something. Maple syrup? If so, how does one make it go from sap to pancake topping?
 

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Ruler

For every 40 gallons of water (or sap) that I boil down I will get 1 gallon of Maple syrup.



Started tapping trees last night. By the time I got the 17th spile in I already had a combined 1 gallon of sap. With the sun out today I should have close to 5-10 gallons of sap by the time I get home from work.

Does anyone have any experience tapping maples that are in a swampy type setting (standing water)? Is the quality any different then say trees that are on higher ground?
:) yummy:)
 

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I tapped a tree in the City which had it's roots in a sewer line. I will never make that mistake again. Tapping trees in swampy areas sounds like you would be making a lot of work for yourself to collect the sap when the ground thaws.

I only have 9 spiles, and on good days I can get as much as 15 gallons of sap (emptying all my buckets twice in a day). I store the sap in 5 gallon buckets with lids, and rotate it to cook the oldest first. I hate to waste any sap, and rainy days really bum me out. I also usually won't cook sap which was collected more than 3 days previously - ruined a few batches by adding spoiled sap. When the sap is running good, I cook round the clock for weeks. It adds a lot of moisture to my house, but the house holds the heat and I don't feel like I am wasting anything. I am really late, but plan to get my taps in tonight or tomorrow. The first few warms days AND NIGHTS will have sap gushing round the clock. I am hoping for some more really cold weather in March, to slow things down for a bit, and extend the season.

When I can my sap, I put cinnamon sticks in about half of the jars. Tastes great - no less filling, though.
 

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I am going to tap our maples this weekend.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Fishndude,

Do you pressure can or use a hot water bath to can your syrup? Last year I had only 1 pint of syrup, which was consumed the next morning! ;) This year, if all goes according to plan, I should have at least a couple quarts, maybe more. I want to store the product so that it will keep for maybe 4-8 weeks.
 

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I hate to waste any sap, and rainy days really bum me out
Fishndude

What do you mean by this statement. Is your sap not as good as quality when it rains?

As for the trees that are tapped in the swamp I boiled the sap down last night and all seems to be well. My only concern is that the tree may be drawing lots of water through the roots and the sap being less concentrated (more work for me).

Out of the 17 taps I was able to get 7 gallons of sap yesterday.

I usually can my syrup and save it for later in the year. Thankgiving breakfast most of it will be used.
 

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To can my syrup I just use pint and quart canning jars and hot pack it. I heat the clean jars to around 210* (in the oven) and boil the lids, then pour the hot syrup from the final pan into jars, add a cinnamon stick; put the lid on, and seal the jar. I let the jars sit for at least 24 hours to seal good before moving them. They will keep for years this way.

When it rains, I usually get rainwater in my buckets, because I do not use a sealed hose system for collecting sap. If the rainwater runs off the tree into the bucket, it brings contaminants and ruins the sap. When I have added that sap to my cooking pans, it has always ruined that batch of syrup, so I dump any sap that has rainwater in it. I have through a lot about getting the stuff to collect with plastic hoses, but have not made the additional effort and expense. I do alright the way I have been doing it.

I would think that trees with standing water around would produce TONS of sap. They probably are not as affected by dry Summers, and would be more consistent producers. All trees yield more diluted sap as the season progresses. The first batches are the best - they are my "private stock."
I love to eat some of the final syrup from a spoon, right out of the pan. That is the best.
 

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I use milk jugs, to collect sap, which I cut a small x into and insert the spile right into the jug. The jug hangs right from the spile and I never have to worry about rain water or runoff from the tree getting into the sap. When it is time to empty the jugs I just unscrew the cap and rotate the jug right on the spile and empty it into a 5 gallon pail.

What do you use to boil down your sap? I am currently using 3 turkey fryers set up in the garage. With the price of propane I am thinking of making and evaporator that I can burn wood in.
 

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Its Official. I burned the first Gallon that I was boiling down tonight. :D
Filled the entire house to with white smoke and ran my wife outside in 20 deg weather.
Must be spring is on its way.
Atleast I only ruined on gallon of sap and not 10 :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I collect sap the same way as redwinger. I harvest the sap in 1 gallon ziplock bags, the past two trips I have gotten 3 gallons. Pretty cumbersome method, does anyone have a good idea for a 5 gallon container which is easy to carry 1/4 mile through the woods? Something that could be backpacked maybe.

My maples are near some bottomlands, wet most of the year, but not thick swamp. They are all producing very well right now, over a gallon per tree per day. My jugs are filled to overflowing at the spile. If I emptied the jugs twice per day I would get more but I don't have the time for that. However I have one tree that just doesn't want to pump out the sap. Maybe it will be a late bloomer.

As of now I have about 7 gallons of sap, and tonight it will all be boiled down to about 1.5 - 2 pints of syrup. The stuff is so delicious, it's unbelievable! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here is the result of my work so far, 2.5 pints of tasty Michigan maple syrup! The half pint missing was eaten this morning! ;)



The trees are really pumping out the sap, almost all of my trees are producing over a gallon per day, and I relocated one spile from a tree that wasn't producing, to a tree was was running like a sieve when I drilled the hole.

Seems to be getting near peak season right now.
 

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Sap is running excellent. Have got 5 pints of syrup already and it is still going strong. Had a 1/2 pint syrup left after canning yesterday that we ate right off the spoon. SO GOOD!
 

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I finally called the person whose trees I tap Saturday and got permission to tap again this year. It is always fine, but I wouldn't do it without asking first. I tapped Sat @ noon, and by 9:00pm I had 15 gallons of sap from 9 spiles. I also found a spile I left in a tree last year (it wasn't running sap at all) so I guess I have 10 spiles. I added that back to another tree after cleaning it, and in my first 24 hours had 25 gallons of sap. Cooking as we speak and hoping for some colder weather soon. I usually save my reduced sap until I have several gallons to do a final cook-down and get a couple gallons of syrup. I save it in clean milk jugs in a refrig and when I have 3 or 4 of those I start the final process. I usually spend a lot of time at the end, because I have burned so many batches by falling asleep at the end. The more concentrated the syrup, the hotter it cooks.

I found a nice big Turkey roasting pan @ Meijer marked down from
$19.97 to $12.97. Between the pan and the lid, I can cook around 9 gallons of sap at a time. My production just increased a lot.
My last batch of syrup last year burned so badly that I had to throw the whole pan away.
 

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I just did my first batch. Got 3/4 of a pint. I hot packed it in the jar. Anyone ever pack a jar thats wasnt totally full? Is it okay to do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Brandon,

I have a batch going tonight, which will give me about 1/2 pint. I usually use those jars first and always store them in the fridge.

Having said that, on other partial jars I did hear the top "plink" meaning it sealed correctly. Still with a partially filled jar I think it's better to keep it refrigerated.
 

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Thanks
Its not going to take long to use it all up anyway :)
 
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