Urban Maple Syrup Harvesting

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I think I’m pretty Canadian in that I say “eh”, wear a bit too much flannel, and occasionally ride a moose to work. There is however one distinctly Canadian pastime that’s always eluded me, the mysterious art of Maple tree tapping. Living in a city the idea honestly never crossed my mind… but then one day it did. When I realized that the streets of my neighborhood where lined with Maple trees, and I didn’t have anything else planed for the day, I figured it was a perfect time to check this off my list of “Distinctly Canadian Things to Do”.

Legal disclaimer: I’m not sure what the legal ramifications are for harvesting Maple Sap from city property, but I can assure you that the taste ramifications are tremendous.

With absolutely no idea what I was doing I spent a few minutes poking around on Google. I didn’t not one to buy a bunch of fancy equipment, so once I got a grasp of the basic concept, I rode my moose down to Canadian Tire and picked up a few 3/16” brass nipples and some rubber tubing. There’s lots of other technical blah blah blah that is important to read up on, but it’s pretty simple stuff. Overnight we ended up with 5 gallons of Maple sap from just one tree. This is how you do it:
Step 1: On the south facing side of a tree drill a 3/16” hole 1.5” into the Maple tree, 2 feet above the ground. Drill the hole at a slightly upwards angle so the sap can drip down. Don’t drill more than two holes in a tree. While 1 or 2 holes are perfectly safe, drilling more can cause excess stress and damage to the tree.

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Step 2: Insert the brass nipple fitting and attach a length of rubber hose to it so you can drain the sap into a food grade container.

Step 3: Wait… the best results come when it drops below freezing overnight and it warms up during the day.

How to tap a maple tree-4
Step 4: Boil off the excess water (it’s approximately 40 parts water to 1 part syrup… so this will take a while) and pour what’s left on your waffles. Loosen up your flannel shirt and enjoy. 5 gallons of sap boiled down to about a quart of amazing fresh 100% pure maple syrup.

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Step 5: Locate the most ridiculous looking container you can find and fill it up.

Written by Cameron Brown

January 22nd, 2013 at 10:09 am

Posted in Project

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  1. […] Maple Syrup from city property, but I assure you that the taste ramifications are tremendous. http://www.cameronbrown.ca/blog/2013/01/make-your-own-maple-syru/ […]

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