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#322398 - 02/17/13 08:24 PM Making Maple Syrup
sprkplug Online   content
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6903
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
As of tonight, my bucket list is a tad lighter. Ive always wanted to try my hand at making maple syrup, and decided that now was the time. I intended to experiment on a small scale, just to see if it was something I enjoyed, before committing to a larger endeavour.

To that end, I tapped four maple trees last Sunday. Every night after work, the boys and I would make the rounds and collect the sap, combining it and storing it in two refrigerators. We ended up with almost 10 gallons of sap, which is comprised of around 98% water, dependent upon the sugar concentration from tree to tree.

I figured that amount of sap might yield a quart of finished syrup, and early this morning I set in to find out. I lit both fires in my homemade stoves at 8:00am...it was 13 degrees...my breakfast tea froze in the cup after just 45 minutes. Not that I had time to drink it anyway, at least at first. After six hours cooking time, I had approx 1/2 gallon of reduction left, which I took to the house to finish on the stove....better heat control that way. The finished product, Pure Maple syrup, came out to be 34 ozs.

Collecting the sap.


Five gallons of sap, 1/2 the total amount to be reduced.


The view wasn't bad...our pond #3, starting to boil.



My threw together stoves...semi truck rims stacked together, with a door and stovepipe added.


Now we're cookin'...


It was a family effort at times..


Starting to show some color.


And the finished product. Since we're not storing it, we just repurposed some jars...pancake breakfast for a few folks next Sunday morning....


It was an amazing day. We enjoyed every minute of it, and the syrup itself, while delicious, pales in comparison to the satisfaction gained from a day spent tending the fires and skimming the pans. I feel truly content, and very fortunate to have experienced this.

Next year....look out. It's on big time.
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

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#322400 - 02/17/13 08:46 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
JKB Offline
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Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 6692
Loc: Michigan
Really Cool. Bring on the pancakes!!!

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#322401 - 02/17/13 08:49 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
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A neighbor makes syrup. I think he is collectig sap now. Thanks for sharing with pictures. The syrup is also good on vanilla ice cream!


Edited by Bill Cody (02/17/13 08:50 PM)
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#322403 - 02/17/13 09:08 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: Bill Cody]
JKB Offline
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Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Bill Cody
A neighbor makes syrup. I think he is collectig sap now. Thanks for sharing with pictures. The syrup is also good on vanilla ice cream!


Maple Syrup, the real stuff, is good on everything!!!

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#322404 - 02/17/13 09:12 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
Robert-NJ Offline


Registered: 09/06/12
Posts: 294
Loc: South NJ/Varna Bulgaria
Wow cool stuff...............can you post some info on the tap?I am assuming you made them.

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#322406 - 02/17/13 09:27 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: Robert-NJ]
sprkplug Online   content
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Registered: 06/02/08
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Loc: Freedom, Indiana
Originally Posted By: Robert-NJ
Wow cool stuff...............can you post some info on the tap?I am assuming you made them.


Actually Robert, I purchased the taps, or spiles, as they are referred to as. My father, an old sugar hand from way back, thought I should burn the center out of a whittled piece of sumac, like he did as a boy. But these plastic spiles are just too inexpensive to fool with making my own, AND...I didn't want to hang a bucket or bag on the spile like they did in dad's time. I ran tubing from the spile to a milk jug, with a hole drilled in its cap just the right size to be a tight sliding fit. No bugs, bark, or rain gets into the sap that way.

_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

Top
#322408 - 02/17/13 09:34 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
kenc Offline


Registered: 11/07/11
Posts: 909
Loc: Aylett, VA
Sp, a wonderful job. If you don't mind post a few pictures of your stoves. I haven't welded much since I quit teaching but would love to make one of those.
_________________________
Two ponds, 13 and 15 acres on the Mattaponi River.

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#322414 - 02/17/13 10:18 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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Registered: 01/04/06
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Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
Sparky, I envy you.
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It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#322420 - 02/17/13 10:31 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
teehjaeh57 Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 7712
Loc: Lincoln, NE
This - is - too - dang - cool! I too spent 5 hours today playing with fire on another lump batch - I felt the fireforce today was strong, must have been you over there.

Did you have to add any sugar or other ingredients or does it naturally end up tasting sweet?

Did it taste like Maple Syrup? Like, Aunt Jamima syrup taste?

If you canned it [with pressure cooker] do you think it would keep 6 - 12 mos?

I dig your stove setup, really well done.

Your pond there looks nice - what's the story with that particular fishery?

What cultivar of Maple did you use for the syrup? Sugar Maple?

Sorry for all the questions!







_________________________
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau





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#322426 - 02/17/13 11:22 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
Bluegillerkiller Offline
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Registered: 09/08/09
Posts: 3536
Loc: Illinois, St. louis area
Anyone heard the funny story out of Illinois recently.. DEA kicked a door in on a suspected meth lab only to find out they were cooking Maple syrup been all over the news around here for the last few days..
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I believe in catch and release. I catch then release to the grease..

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#322428 - 02/17/13 11:29 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: teehjaeh57]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24012
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
Did it taste like Maple Syrup? Like, Aunt Jamima syrup taste?


Grasshopper, if you have to ask that question, you've never tasted REAL Maple syrup! The 2 aren't anywhere close to being the same.

I made some a few years ago, but I purchased aluminum taps and used the bags. LOTS of boiling to get a little syrup. I didn't "can" mine, I boiled the jars and lids, and filled them when the syrup was hot. It stored in the fridge for over a year.

I take the easy way out now and pre-order mine a year in advance from one of the Amish families. Every year someone else wants some, so the order seems to increase for every following year. I'm up to 4 gallons this year.

Sprkplug, that's a great set-up! You done good.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#322436 - 02/18/13 05:17 AM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
Mike Schmitt Offline


Registered: 06/02/12
Posts: 149
Loc: Lapaz, Indiana
That really cool, I have always wanted to do that, but never had sugar maples big enough to tap. It looks like your family had fun too!
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My momma never accused me of being to smart....

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#322442 - 02/18/13 07:29 AM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1833
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
www.maplemadness.com for supplies! I have been using the 3-gallon bags and bag-holders. They work great when it is cold out as you can toss out the ice for higher sugar to start.

Have been doing it for a few years, tap 10-11 trees for a few years up to 2 years ago. Then we had a bumper year and couldn't keep up! 3 gallons of sap at the end of it for a 1-man operation using a wood-burning stove. It was wearisome.

If I still didn't have 1/2 gallon left from that year, I would have more drive to do it again, but so busy that something has to give. I may tap just a few, and ordering supplies today.
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#322445 - 02/18/13 08:01 AM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
sprkplug Online   content
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6903
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
TJ, there is nothing added...no ingredient other than maple sap. And the finished syrup is sweeter than the artificial stuff, a little thinner,(unless you keep it in the fridge), and has a strong maple flavor.

I have no doubt it would keep if canned properly. We bottled ours at 185 degrees, flipped the jars over to sterilize the lid and neck, then set them upright. They formed a vacuum and pulled the lids down just fine, although ours will be eaten shortly...as in next weekend.

I did tap sugar maples, although any of the maple varieties around here will make good syrup, and the commercial operators do not discriminate, they tap em' all. My father helped out at a large Amish family who were making syrup last weekend, and they were processing 3200 gallons of sap that day, of all maple varieties.

The stoves were a last minute idea, born of desperation. Since our property was once a campground, there are dozens of these rims laying around. I didn't even weld the two rims together, just stacked them up. I cut out a section of rim on the bandsaw, then removed the top and bottom flanges from the cut-out section, and welded those back into the rims, leaving a curved, rectangular opening. I welded a hinge on the removed section, and once fit back into the rim I welded the hinge to the rim also. Instant door. I used a U-bolt as a handle, and made a tool that hooked into the U-bolt so I could open and close it without getting burned.

In the back of the rim there is a slot where the valve stem protruded. I laid out half circles on each side of the slot, cut them out, and had a 4" round hole for an elbow and stovepipe. They worked great if I do say so myself.



Liquidsquid I hear you on tossing out the ice...a definite drawback to using milk jugs as collection devices!
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

Top
#322448 - 02/18/13 08:39 AM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
kenc Offline


Registered: 11/07/11
Posts: 909
Loc: Aylett, VA
SP, how do you attach the stove pipe or do you just stick it in there. As high as scrap got,it looks like someone would have relieved you of the rims. They make good fire pits. Thanks for posting.
_________________________
Two ponds, 13 and 15 acres on the Mattaponi River.

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#322453 - 02/18/13 09:28 AM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
djstauder Offline
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Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 994
Loc: Mississippi
sprkplug,
That "real" maple syrup must be awesome!

Is it a easy operation getting the spike to the correct depth into the tree?
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#322455 - 02/18/13 09:50 AM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11990
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Maple syrup stores in the freezer well. I have kept it in the freezer for several years with no change in flavor that I could recognize. I now pay around $54-$68/gal. As noted, making it is fairly labor intensive.


Edited by Bill Cody (02/18/13 09:54 AM)
_________________________
Keep This Forum Viable, Read Pond Boss Magazine -
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#322456 - 02/18/13 09:52 AM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
sprkplug Online   content
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6903
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
It's no problem at all driving in the spile. I used plastic spiles that required a 5/16" hole. Supposedly they are more friendly towards the tree than the older, 1/2" taps, although they were used for decades with no ill effects apparently noticed. I drilled into the tree for a depth of about 2.5"

Ken, I slit the pipe elbow all the way around, inserted it through the rim, and bent the sections back flat...not pretty, but locked into place.

_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

Top
#322458 - 02/18/13 10:03 AM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
kenc Offline


Registered: 11/07/11
Posts: 909
Loc: Aylett, VA
Very nice Tony, I have to make me one of those.
_________________________
Two ponds, 13 and 15 acres on the Mattaponi River.

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#322460 - 02/18/13 10:13 AM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
sprkplug Online   content
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6903
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
Ken if you do, try and locate the grill out of an old, round Weber charcoal grill....they were a perfect fit to sit inside the flange of the semi rim. I THINK it measured 23" in diameter? If you round up everything with that in mind, it fits like a glove.

And since a lot of campers apparently knew that also, I had no problem finding the grills along with the rims....most simply packed up their campers and left, leaving coleman lanterns, outdoor cooking appliances, and even two perfectly good aluminum jonboats. When I added those to the ones I already own, I have a boat left on shore at each of our five ponds!
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

Top
#322466 - 02/18/13 10:42 AM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
kenc Offline


Registered: 11/07/11
Posts: 909
Loc: Aylett, VA
Since we rent homes for a living, we have 5 or 6 weber grills that have been left by tenants. Most of them are like new. We also get lots of garden hoses,trash cans and cleaning supplies as they usually decide cleaning is not their forte.Did you rent out the campground or buy it from someone that got tired of it.
_________________________
Two ponds, 13 and 15 acres on the Mattaponi River.

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#322479 - 02/18/13 01:17 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
roadwarriorsvt Offline


Registered: 03/09/11
Posts: 621
Loc: Wahiawa, HI
Awsome project Sparkplug! If you have kids, I'm sure it will teach them the value of hard work. Nothing like reaping the benefits of mother nature!

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#322487 - 02/18/13 02:19 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
sprkplug Online   content
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6903
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
We bought it Ken. Well actually we bought half the total property, and the old campground was on our half.
_________________________
"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

Top
#322493 - 02/18/13 03:20 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
kenc Offline


Registered: 11/07/11
Posts: 909
Loc: Aylett, VA
I can certainly understand why you bought it, what a beautiful place.
_________________________
Two ponds, 13 and 15 acres on the Mattaponi River.

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#322498 - 02/18/13 03:49 PM Re: Making Maple Syrup [Re: sprkplug]
Sue Cruz Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 12/22/04
Posts: 709
Loc: Pompano Beach, Florida
I love the homemade maple syrup ~ every Feb/March I wind up in NE Ohio to visit John Wilson's company, AQUA DOC ~ while there I stock up on maple syrup and candy for the kids. It is so cool to see the taps in all the maple trees. Wilson actually made his own one year. They do recomend that you store it in the freezer. Sparkplug, if you made enough of it, you can buy little jars, have your own labels made, and give them as gifts or donate for Pond Boss silent auction items!
_________________________
Sue Cruz
Vertex Water Features
www.vertexwaterfeatures.com


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