Being an avid wildcrafter and outdoors kinda gal I’ve been chumping at the bit to forage and herb around outside. I harvested Winter roots, buds, barks, Chickweed under the snow but was anxious for sugarin season! You know the sap is running when the temps are 40ish during the day and 20’s or so at night. The past month or so fit this pattern and the results have been SWEET!
A friend from northern Minnesota, Bob Stauffer, has a big time Sugarin production, tapping 300 trees! He crafted these Y shaped tubes for me to collect the sap from two places on a large trunk and we just made a single hole in the lid of 5 gallon buckets. This fancy set up is not really necessary. A primitive skills expert here in Todd taps 75 Sugar Maples every year and uses Sumac stalks that have been hollowed out as the spiles and empty plastic gallon jugs to collect the sap. Bethany and Hannah helped me collect Sumac branches but I have yet to use them as spiles, the pith is easy to remove leaving a hollow spile for tapping. Next year I will do a bigger operation and use them then.
A tree needs to be at least 12 inches in diameter to be tap worthy. This Maple has such girth that I attached too buckets to collect it’s sap. Notice the rocks around the base of each bucket to anchor in place and also the rocks on top of the lids to keep them from blowing off.
Yes, I am aware that I am crazy… this is the culmination of lots of boiling and ‘wasting’ of electricity. BUT oh it tastes soooooo good. No wonder Maple syrup prices are steep! Jason helped me pour the syrup into waiting glass jug bottles and poured to fast the first time resulting in a a huge mess on the stove top. Using droppers we syringed every drop of the liquid gold into the jar. Next year, I will tap many Maples and use an outdoor mapling pan over a fire pit to save electricity!
Maple syrup at long last! It tastes amazing. Jason was so thrilled! I plan on making Maple scones for my next wild food class! and butternut squash soup with MAPLE syrup (click on links to see the recipes)
It is now March 23 and the sap continues to flow and I am still eagerly collecting every drop. I love to drink the fresh sap straight from the tree as well (it tastes like the best water EVER!) I’ll be posting my favorite Maple syrup recipes in the cooking section of my blog and using the harvest to sweeten wild menus for many an upcoming WILD event at Wild Blessings! Join me!
AND I am sending this blog entry to Butter Wilde’s Wild Things Round UP at hungerandthirstforlife.blogspot.com
Check her site out! It will open a whole nuther wild world to you! Simply awesome!