Making Maple Syrup II: Collecting

Posted on April 6th, 2010 by Tonia 3 Comments

When all the trees are tapped, we wait for the buckets to fill with sap.  Some years, when the weather is right, we’ll need to collect twice a day, because the sap is flowing so fast. 

The ideal weather for a good sap run only happens during a small window of time every spring {usually lasting a week}.  It needs to freeze at night, and then warm up to about 50 degrees during the day.  This is a tricky weather combination, but the best syrup is made during this window- a beautiful amber color and buttery taste.  Earlier in the spring, the syrup turns out very light in color, and less flavorful.  Later in the spring, the syrup is darker and thicker.  You know the season is over once you start seeing bugs floating in the sap when you go to collect it.collecting1

As I explained here, we don’t tap as many trees as we used to, because we do all the collection on foot now.  Instead of using horses to pull a sleigh with a tank on it, we now set up “collection stations” throughout the woods {large Tupperware bins}, and we dump the sap into these bins. 

The sap gets funnelled through hoses down to an underground holding tank.  It’s kept cold in there until we have enough to boil.  Since sap only has about 2% sugar content, it can take about 40-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.  Our evaporator is very large, so we need at least 300 gallons of sap before we start boiling, or else we run the risk of burning the syrup in the pan.


A quick synopsis of how maple syrup is made can be found here, along with some neat old photos.


Our “maple mascots”, Charlie Brown and Schroeder, keep a look-out for us while we work.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tonia, Tonia. Tonia said: The second maple syrup post is up! – Making Maple Syrup II: Collecting […]

  2. mamamouseiam says:

    Great memories!

    Another Haiku (You know me. Always up for a little Haiku-ing!):
    Towering maples
    surrender their clear sweet sap
    a gift of nature.

  3. […] This particular batch was made in April 2010.  Mike’s mom and dad came and helped us tap, collect, boil, and can.  Mike designed the “logo” for the […]

Leave a Reply