I haven't made syrup in a few years. When i did, I simply drilled a hole in the side of the tree, about an inch deep, cleaned out the hole with a brush and then stuck in a piece of plastic hose the same size as the drill (i usually used 1/4 od hose) . the other end of the plastic hose went through a hole in the lid of a 2 liter soda bottle (or milk jug) and the bottle/jug was hung on a stainless steel screw just below the sap hole. Only took a piece of hose about 8 inches long. I would take other similar jugs out with intact lids to exchange for the ones on the trees. Just remove the bottle from the tree, and switch the cap for a solid one and hang the fresh bottle on the tree with the hose.
Evaporating the sap in the kitchen can cause a lot of vapor problems. As in condensation on everything, including the fancy wood cabinet doors. Not a good thing if you value domestic tranquility. I used a large 4 gal cheap stainless steel kettle from walmart and a smaller kettle. I poured the sap into the large kettle over low heat and just let if evaporate until it was down to about 1/10th of it's original depth. Then I transferred the partially done syrup to a smaller thicker based kettle and slowly cooked down the rest of the process. When the sugars start to caramelize, the syrup will turn brown. The bubbles in the cooking sap will appear more like clear plastic bubbles as the sap thickens. It scorches very easy at that point so you should really watch it carefully. I made my first batch from red maple sap. When I cooked it down it was sweet and syrupy just like from sugar maple. You can also tap sycamore and hickory trees. I had a book about edible plants and the professor of botany who wrote the book said the Indians would tap black walnut trees as well. I did make some black walnut syrup. It was deep yellow, very sweet and buttery.
The sap really does not run unless the nights are below freezing and the days are above freezing. Lows around 20-25 and highs around 40 seem ideal.
Last edited by zimmerstutzen; 01-13-2017 at 06:21 AM.