When it comes to sweet delectable gifts given to us from nature, maple syrup ranks as one of the best. Tapping maple trees for sap and making it into syrup is a surprisingly simple process, can be done at any scale, and is achievable by anyone with access to maple trees and a few basic supplies.
The Basics of How Tapping Works
The rudimentary science goes something like this: the natural fluids inside trees tend to remain dormant during the cold of winter, but begin to rise and fall between the roots and branches when spring arrives. This brief period, during which the temperature rises well above freezing during the day but continues to dip back to cold overnights, is the best time to extract the fluid — or sap — from the tree by way of tapping it.
The way to do this is to drill a hole through the bark in order to access the sap, insert a specialized funnel-shaped spout called a “spile,” and hang a bucket under the spile to collect the liquid.
The Basics of How Sap Becomes Syrup
Anyone who has spent any time in the kitchen knows that boiling liquids in an uncovered pan causes the liquid to “reduce,” or become thicker.