Tapping into the Forest

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From tree to bottle, the process of tapping maple trees and turning that sweet nectar into something our family can enjoy throughout the whole year has been an amazing experience! Not only are we getting outside soaking in the much anticipated fresh Spring warmth that’s good for anyone’s soul, we are doing something together as a family. We often catch our children outside taking the hoses out of the buckets from the backyard and drinking it right from the tree, and no, I wouldn’t think of stopping them as I know what kind of memories they are making and I can’t wait to talk about it with their children someday;)

We are just starting our second season and have learned a lot in just one year, here are a just few of them that may save you some time/money:

  • you really don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy, brand new buckets and lids, any food grade bucket with a lid and drilled hole will do!
  • tapping on the south side of the tree so that the sun is shining on it makes a big difference in how much sap you get!
  • in our experience, a regular drill bit will work, no fancy maple syrup tapping bit needed!

Today we gathered our first round of sap that we will start boiling first thing tomorrow morning, we are still considered a pretty small operation but we managed to gather 260 liters of sap from 29 trees in 5 days! That’s SOOOO much sap, you say? But in reality, it takes approximately 40 liters of sap to get 1, yes just ONE liter of maple syrup! 

Anyone can tap a few maple trees, it really is a simple procedure, but instead of me going through all the steps I’m going to point you to the Cornell University website. Here we’ve found links to the basics to more advanced techniques, and they have a great step by step You tube channel. 

About Maple Syrup

But the best advice I can give you is, to just go for it! I’ve found this true with any of the things I’ve tried on the farm or homestead. Reading about it is great but like my kids’ 4H motto says, LEARN TO DO BY DOING and of course making mistakes;)

If you live in our local area, the best places we have found so far to find maple syrup supplies has been: 

Scotian Gold Country Store 

in store or online for local pickup at; 

Home Hardware

More interesting tidbits….

Maple sap/water is super healthy on its own… “According to Canadian maple water company SEVA, maple water contains 46 bioactive nutrients, including minerals, amino acids and organic acids. Maple water contains abscisic acid (ABA), a plant hormone that may help plants adapt to stress. In humans, ABA may help to balance blood sugar. As this is a fairly new, buzzed-about product, more studies need to be done before it’s established as a cure-all.” https://www.foodnetwork.ca/healthy-eating/blog/birch-maple-water-health-benefits-sap-water/

Maple syrup is a healthier sugar…. 

9 Maple Syrup Health Benefits

  1. Contains Numerous Antioxidants
  2. Has a Lower Score on the Glycemic Index
  3. May Help Fight Inflammatory and Neurodegenerative Diseases
  4. May Help Protect Against Cancer
  5. Helps Protect Skin Health
  6. Alternative to Sugar for Improved Digestion
  7. Supplies Important Vitamins and Minerals
  8. Healthier Alternative to Artificial Sweeteners
  9. May Enhance Antibiotic Effects” https://draxe.com/maple-syrup-nutrition/

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