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Has anyone here harvested and made their own maple syrup?  Is it feasable for, say, a single household to do?  What does it require?

There's a thread Paul pointed out from a while ago with youtube videos of maple syrup harvesting:  http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=259.0

From what I've gathered from those it seems like it would be a lot of work (and require a lot of trees!) but I'm hoping I'm wrong.
 
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From online article "How to Tap Maple Trees and Make Maple Syrup" from http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/pdfpubs/7036.pdf

"The average yield from a taphole is from five to 15 gallons... It takes about ten gallons of sap to produce one quart of syrup."  (No wonder it costs so much!)

Here's a site with photos:  http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Buds_and_Bark/tapping_sugar_maple_index.html

There is supposed to be a way of evaporating excess water from maple syrup using freezing (Cryoconcentration) but I can't find any how-tos.

Sue
 
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holy moly! ten gallons to produce a quart! I'm glad I just put jelly on my flapjacks.
 
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When you make jelly, do you put just fruit in it?  Do you put any store bought ingredients in it? 

I think it might be cool to make an apple jelly/syrup from just boiling down apple juice - kinda like what they do with the maple syrup.

 
Susan Monroe
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Paul, do you have Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living? There is a TON of information like that in her book.

Sue
 
paul wheaton
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I have the updated 9th edition.  I remember reading that section a few years ago.  A lot of good info and I seem to recall that there were some things missing. 

I know that I used to send her suggestions for things in her next edition.  And, well .... she died about three years ago ...  wow, almost to the day:  October 11, 2005

What a fantastic book.
 
Leah Sattler
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I call it jelly but I usually make what are typically called fruit butters that are basically just pureed fruit boiled down until thick.  I ashamedly use cane sugar in most but at least can control the amount and don't end up with the sickeningly sick sweet taste of many similiar store bought items.
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I've heard from a friend in a CSA in NY State, where the members each tap their own trees, then boil the syrup down collectively, and everyone gets a quart in their box.  Certainly a more social way of "sugarin"!
 
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paul wheaton wrote:
When you make jelly, do you put just fruit in it?  Do you put any store bought ingredients in it? 

I think it might be cool to make an apple jelly/syrup from just boiling down apple juice - kinda like what they do with the maple syrup.




Paul,

Over the winter we had a surplus of apple and pear cider. Some of it was turned into hard cider, but the winter intern crew put some of it in a big pot on the wood stove for a couple days. They ended up with the most delicious fruit syrup ever! The apple and pear are both incredibly yummy concentrated goodness. So, for the record, it works!

Dave
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By the way:  I recently made a friend here in LA who is a recent transplant from Canada, and she said her family often made their own maple syrup.  When she gets back from vacation I'll ask her to post her memories...they sounded yummy.
 
paul wheaton
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permaculture.dave wrote:
Paul,

Over the winter we had a surplus of apple and pear cider. Some of it was turned into hard cider, but the winter intern crew put some of it in a big pot on the wood stove for a couple days. They ended up with the most delicious fruit syrup ever! The apple and pear are both incredibly yummy concentrated goodness. So, for the record, it works!

Dave


Damn good news!

And all ya do is fill a container with juice and let it be warm for a few days?


 
paul wheaton
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Valorie wrote:
By the way:  I recently made a friend here in LA who is a recent transplant from Canada, and she said her family often made their own maple syrup.  When she gets back from vacation I'll ask her to post her memories...they sounded yummy.


And pictures!  Hit her up for pictures too!
 
Susan Monroe
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Does anyone know anything about sorghum syrup?  I know it's a common thing in the parts of the country where sweet sorghum is grown, but I've never tasted it and have never seen any for sale.

Sue
 
paul wheaton
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Apparently, there is a tree referred to as "sugar pine" that you can tap for edible, delicious syrup.  That is all I know.  I wonder about the exact species, range and what it is like.
 
Dave Boehnlein
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In the Spring 2009 Issue of Pomona, the publication of NAFEX (North American Fruit Explorers), there is an article written entitled, "Maple Sugaring at Home". If anyone here has access, I would recommend checking it out. You can often find Pomona at your local library.

Dave
 
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permaculture.dave wrote:
In the Spring 2009 Issue of Pomona, the publication of NAFEX (North American Fruit Explorers), there is an article written entitled, "Maple Sugaring at Home". If anyone here has access, I would recommend checking it out. You can often find Pomona at your local library.

Dave


I couldn't find it at the library - but the librarian (sno-isle) is checking around.

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rachael hamblin wrote:
Has anyone here harvested and made their own maple syrup?  Is it feasable for, say, a single household to do?  What does it require?

There's a thread Paul pointed out from a while ago with youtube videos of maple syrup harvesting:  http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=259.0

From what I've gathered from those it seems like it would be a lot of work (and require a lot of trees!) but I'm hoping I'm wrong.
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As a kid in northern Michigan, it was my job to keep track of the sap buckets while making maple syrup.  My Dad would drill the trees and set the spiles which were available at places like the co-op.  We had a big horse tank and if the sap was running my brothers would start a wood fire under the tank.  On a warm day in early spring when the sap was running, I might have to check the buckets several times a day and dump the sap into the tank for processing.  After the sap was rendered down into syrup, we transferred the syrup to large tin containers and took them to the local cannery where the syrup was canned in gallon tin cans.  The best part was the sugar left in the bottom of the horse tank.

I was able to tend maybe 30 or 40 trees on my skiis each day.
 
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This is more of a "How not to make maple syrup." but I thought this knowlege should be brought forth so we all know what will be floating down stream soon.
Sap discovery could turn syrup making upside down
 
pollinator
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Hey there,

My wife is a serious New England maple syrup girl.

We are in Costa Rica filming a full length permaculture design course for our permaculture and organic gardening video course website: http://organiclifeguru.com

This spring we will be creating an online video course about how to start small scale sap harvesting and syrup production. We're filming this on some land in New Hampshire.

Sign up to the mailing list on the side of our blog here to be notified when it becomes available: http://organiclifeguru.com/blog



 
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paul wheaton wrote:
I think it might be cool to make an apple jelly/syrup from just boiling down apple juice - kinda like what they do with the maple syrup.


I've done this and it's awesome. Apples are a lot sweeter than maple sap, so it's a lot easier, too.

I usually combine this project with making apple sauce. I quarter apples (to check for worms, etc) and cook them in a bit of water. Whatever cooking liquid is left, I reduce into syrup. The apples go through a food mill. Then there's canning...
 
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paul wheaton wrote:Apparently, there is a tree referred to as "sugar pine" that you can tap for edible, delicious syrup.  That is all I know.  I wonder about the exact species, range and what it is like.


Sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana) is native to the Pacific coastal mountains of North America, especially in Oregon and NorCal. I've never heard of it being used for syrup production. If Ed Burke is still hanging around the forestry department at UM Missoula he might know. That guy's probably forgotten more about trees and their uses than I ever managed to learn from him. Even if it were possible to tap them for syrup I don't think it would be a good idea. They're one of the five-needle pines and so are currently fighting a losing battle with white pine blister rust.
 
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