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I ordered 10 maple spiles and i am looking to learn through experience how to make syrup. I do know that it's a 40:1 ratio and that I am looking for about 10 gallons of sap to make a qt of syrup (this isn't set in stone if I get more great if I get less that's fine as well). This is more for the learning how to do it than to make a large amount. I live in SE PA and I'm curious as to when everyone taps trees in this area since we start to warm up sooner than the rest of the state. I do have my trees identified and marked at my house and some friends. I'll be using an outdoor burner for the boil. Any other tips would be appreciated from the more experienced folks.
 

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Can't help with the syrup making part but make sure you have plenty of butter and pancakes when you are finished.
Sounds like a fun experiment.
 

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make sure you turn your heat down as it is starting to get close to being finished even move inside to the kitchen stove. the flash point is quick and will not take much to ruin a pot and some syrup, trust me I learned the hard way
 

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Wish I could help but it seems like a good experience to learn that and quite tasty.How much to get into this money wise?If you don't want to say I'm okay with that.
 

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How much to get into this money wise?If you don't want to say I'm okay with that.
Basically nothing if you are just gonna do it recreationally..............make a few quarts............

I have sugared a few times. Used clean, 1 gallon milk jugs as collectors. Made my spiles from RV waterline. Drilled with a hand brace and an auger bit. Boiled in a big stainless stockpot. Only thing I wish I had was a candy thermometer. I think it's 219* F you need to bring the syrup to and kill the heat.
 

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The spiles I ordered off amazon for $22 and I plan on using milk jugs to collect. I luckily have a candy thermometer already but they're relatively inexpensive.
 

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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.
 

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I just ordered 15 spiles and hoses to try my hand at maple syrup this year. We have plenty of maples around our woods and it doesn't sound incredibly difficult, so i think i can handle it. Just need to get our propane stove from the inlaws' garage and I'll be ready.
 

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what about soda bottles? I've been saving those to try.
Yep, got a few of those hanging myself. Just be sure to rinse and sterilize prior to use.

Biggest issue is that when you get a hard run (like Saturday), you'll have to empty them 2 or 3 times a day.

I put out 18 taps and in 24 hours on Saturday had 32 gallons of sap collected. Sad part is: I hope this week isn't a once and done run for the season.
 

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So, I ordered my spiles and drop lines from an eBay seller almost two weeks ago and i'm still waiting. They were supposed to ship in 24 hours, but they didn't ship them for over a week. Guess that's the chance you take with eBay. I just hope with this warm weather that its not too late.
 

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I just got back into syruping again this year. Haven't done it since I was a kid so had to get all new stuff. I'm running the sap sacks and have been very happy with them so far. I ordered some from Farm and Fleet and got them in a few days. I got a late start but this past Sunday and yesterday I had good runs. I have collected about three gallons from 10 taps in those two days. Looks like we should have another good run this weekend.
 

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I now have 24 taps in. Already have 2 1/2 gallons of finished syrup on the shelf.

Cold this weekend and warm early next week should be a good run. Taking it batch by batch and when it starts to go funny, I'm all done. Other years I tapped into April. Just never know.
 

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Depends on how long you leave out and what the temperatures are. You are best to either keep it cold, or hot (boiling). Most places though store it for a bit until they have a batch ready to boil. If it gets warm and stays warm, your storage time will be decreased.

I use the same rule of thumb for sap as I do for meat: 40F-140F, with near body temperature being the critical point. These are the parameters for bacteria growth. Start clean and stay clean, stay as cold as possible as long as you can, and get it to the boil when you are able. Any signs of bacteria growth, and your syrup will not be good quality, and could be unhealthy.

One of the "unfortunate" things of making syrup is that your schedule is dictated by conditions, not necessarily the availability of your time.
 

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Thanks for the info. They are still pretty cold with ice in one of them. I'll bring them in and refrigerate them when the temps get warmer today. Looks like only a few warm days then back to it again.
 
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