Monday, March 1, 2010

Tapping Maple Trees an Making Syrup

Homemade waffle and pancake recipes are very easy and wholesome. The main ingredients are flour, egg and baking powder. Waffles are usually lighter; using only the egg white and pancakes are easy to add fruit to. For me, with both waffles and pancakes, maple syrup is a must.


This is the recipe my boyfriend made me for my birthday 2010 an now we use to make dozens of waffles that freeze and thaw like ego waffles. Homemade ego waffles, with eggs and syrup from out in the yard... mmm mmm good. :P

1 3/4 cup flour
1 TB Baking Powder
1 1/2 TB Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 3/4 cup milk
2 egg yolks beaten
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Egg whites whipped
1) Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking poweder, sugar, salt)

2) Create a well in center and add milk, egg yolks, oil, and vanilla.

3) Mix only until combined. Will be lumpy.

4) Fold stiff egg whites in. Lumpy still.

5) Coat waffle iron.

Tree sap flows during periods when temperatures freeze at night and warm during the day. The sap flows upward from the roots and tapping is done at about two to three feet off the ground. The diameter of trees to be tapped should be no less than 10 inches. One tap may produce from a quart to a gallon of sap during a few hours or days: totaling about 10 to 12 gallons per tap per season. Sap should be collected often, (every couple days) to avoid quality loss. Ten gallons of sap may produce one quart of syrup. However, sap with a higher sugar content would produce more.

We tapped four maple trees using materials we already had. Tapping trees need only involve a spile and a container. Lids are very common on collection buckets to keep sap clean and we used tubing to go through the top of our lids. For spiles we used two plastic tubes cut from old parts of a toilet(!) and two copper tubes leftover from house piping. Copper however, is toxic to trees and I will remove them promptly after the tapping period.

Tubing between spile and container fits inside the copper spiles and outside the plastic ones. Outside is better for flow but I'm lazy! For collection containers we used a couple of cheese ball tubs and a couple of lidded buckets. The bucket handles hang from nails and the tubs have bailing twine tied much like what hold hanging plants.

We used an electric drill with a ½” bit to make holes about 2” deep. Then we hammered the 4 spiles in past the bark. One of the trees seems to be flowing much more than the others and started a constant drip when tapped. A great sign as far as I am concerned.
We were able to collect about 2 gallons of sap from the heavy flowing tree after about 3 days.

We left the clear sap on our wood stove all day to evaporate water and moved it to the stove top at night to increase temperature further. Learning later that the humidity is immense and cooking inside without appropriate measures may be silly and soak your house.  Make sap outside where it belongs people!  Supposedly finished sap boils at 7 degrees over the boiling point of water. Boiling point decreases about 1 degree per 500ft above sea level. So we used a candy thermometer waiting for the sap to reach 217. I don’t think it actually reached that but came within a degree or two. The sap turned yellowish, has a mild maple taste and is very sweet. So much better than anything I have paid for. We immediately placed the sap in a sterile jar which made an excellent seal when cooled. We could not wait to try it and made pancakes the next day!!

How to Tap Maple Trees for Syrup by University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Hobby Maple Syrup Production by Ohio State University

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