Before I met Chrystal I preferred Log-Cabin over the real deal. But if I was going to marry a girl from Maine I learned that the deal was going to quickly change. 20 years later I can’t imagine life without real, maple syrup.
We’ve been enjoying the Norway Maples in our backyard for years. Norway Maples are an invasive species spreading quickly in the northeastern US, so they are very prolific. They make great shade and add beautiful color and shape to our back yard. But could they make good syrup?
This year for Christmas Chrystal got me 12 maple taps with the tubes, a filter, and everything needed for a backyard sugaring operation along with a how-to book. According to the book, once temperatures begin to fluctuate back and forth between freeze and thaw its time to tap – and in some climates like PA, that could be as early as late January. On the last Friday of January I drilled my first hole. Before I could go back into the house to grab the tap and tubing I noticed water (sap) gushing from the hole.
I quickly got 5 taps established with milk jugs. As soon as I got them connected I could hear them dripping into the jugs.
By the next evening I was already boiling maple sap. It wasn’t much, but we were doing it! About 5 gallons boiled down over several hours, and by that night we were sampling our first pint of backyard maple syrup, and yes – it is delicious! By Monday we had gathered another 7 gallons, and late Monday Night we had a full quart of finished maple syrup.
Since then we hit another cold snap and the taps have all but stopped. But soon enough they’ll be flowing again and we’ll be cooking away – hopefully for a year’s worth of finished maple syrup from a few trees in our backyard.