We got some plastic taps and tubes last year. When we were sure the sap was dripping–the weather was warming up–we went outside, bored a hole in our Maple tree and put the taps in. We put some holes in the lids of some milk jugs, put the tubes in the hole, put the lids on the milk jugs, and let it sit in a bucket.Â That way if it overflowed, we would not lose it all.
Then we collected the sap for a week and on Monday started to boil it down. We started out doing it inside–which is not recommended unless you do not mind a very humid house– and then moved it outside when we got the outside stove done.
The stove was easy to make if you can carry the cinder blocks.Â We took four cinder blocks and put them in two rows with a separation between it. We used the racks from our oven to hold the pots. (We learned not to use your good cooking pots because it gets all sooty and black.Â Daddy bought us some 14 quart flat pans for our next batch.Â We will try soaping the bottoms of the pan to see if that helps.) Daddy designed a chimney.Â If smoke gets in the sap, the syrup does not taste very good.Â Then you put a fire under it and boil the sap.
Then you sit around and make sure the fire keeps going.Â Try to persuade your Mom to let you roast sausages and invite neighbors to see what you are doing. Do not put cold sap with hot sap, it could make the syrup darker.Â The darker the syrup is the less fancy it is.Â We used two pots and poured the boiling sap in the large container when there was room.Â Take off foam when it boils.Â When it is almost syrup, you strain it to get the sugar sand out.Â Then you finish boiling it.Â We checked to see if it was done by seeing how it ran on the spoon and tasting it! It took all day to boil it all down and some of the next day.
Let it sit overnight, keeping it cool.Â Heat it to 180 degrees and can it in sterilized jelly jars.Â When you are hungry you make pancakes or waffles.Â Put them on your plate and cover them with your maple syrup.Â Enjoy!