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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

Maple syrup

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Dave H (MI)

02-26-2020 10:09:20




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I guess somehow I made it thru life and never tried real maple syrup. A client dropped off her work yesterday AM and left me a little jar of syrup fresh from the evaporator. Still warm. So we made some pancakes for lunch. Best pancakes I ever ate and it was all about the syrup. So no my wife wants to tap the many sugar maples in our woodlot and make our own. She has been on Amazon looking for a starter kit. Any tips or suggestions? I won't be around to monitor things as I am working all the time.

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Indiana Ken

02-27-2020 18:13:43




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
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Jeffcat, I make Maple Syrup from my 15 acre woods. I sell it for $10 per qt, shipping would be in addition. I am in the north central part of Indiana. I have shipped as far as North Carolina.

I have a few quarts left over from last year but, this years syrup should be ready by next week - assuming this cold spell goes away.



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c.amick

02-27-2020 18:04:11




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Only two kinds of maples have sweet sap: sugar maples and black maples. If you aren't going to tap many tress you can make taps out of sumac wood. We used sumac because it has a very soft heart and easy to drill out. If interested, email me and I will send you a photo of one.



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unc

02-27-2020 09:51:28




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
I have two big old maple trees of some kind. I tapped them last year with 5/16" stainless drinking straws running into stainless buckets with tin foil lids. Nothing complicated. Boiled it on the kitchen stove with the range hood on low. Used a candy thermometer to go 7*F over local boiling point, and got the lightest, sweetest syrup I've ever tasted. Simple and easy and fun.
I've been watching the weather, and I'll put my taps in this weekend. unc

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Donald Lehman

02-27-2020 08:36:37




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Making maple syrup can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. A turkey cooker would be a good place to start with. Don't use anything bigger than the 5/16 size spouts. The old 7/16 size spouts should not be used on smaller trees. Your wife will generally get better prices on spouts and supplies if she buys from a local supplier who sells to the commercial producers because they buy huge quantities of spouts and such. If she boils in a pan or cooker and just goes by guess on how close to done the syrup is, when you dip a spoon into the boiling syrup and the hot syrup drips off the spoon, it isn't ready yet. If the syrup starts to string off the spoon it's ready to take off the heat. As said below, when it's ready, it's READY to be taken off the heat. Better to quit a bit early and go back and boil a bit longer than to end up with 120 weight gear oil. Of course if she buys a hygrometer, it eliminates the guess work. Good luck.

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4wdtom

02-27-2020 06:08:23




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
The darker grade which is usually less expensive has more maple flavor. I recently read why this situation came about. Back when sugar was more difficult to obtain maple syrup was used as a sweeten things and unless you wanted it to also taste maple you valued less maple flavored syrup. The farmer who we buy from turned us on to the dark grade but he either didn't know the story behind it or didn't tell us.

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caterpillar guy

02-27-2020 05:35:44




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
We probably do it all wrong. We have not tapped in a few years. We used to do it every year. We boiled in a pan about 3feet wide 5 feet long and about 10 inches deep. Used a 2x6 water tank for the sap. Then boiled till about done then would finish it off at the house. We collected it all by hand carrying it to the tank in 5 gallon pails. I would like to know more about using the tubing to help with reducing labor to collect. Also the woods will thaw out enough we could not use tractors to pull tanks for collection. How do you keep the deer from running into them and pulling it all to pieces? How expensive is it and how long does it last. There are a couple of syrup supply places around jst have not went there to talk to them. I never heard of sterilizing the bit between trees. We just went from tree to tree using the brace and bit. We did slope them slightly downhill. We just go by taste to finish it off never lost a jar yet from not being boiled enough .

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Donald Lehman

02-27-2020 09:34:43




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to caterpillar guy, 02-27-2020 05:35:44  
If you use tubing, you only have to use a minimum of collection points and quality of the woods roads in not so much a factor. We find that the deer don't have any problems negotiating woods areas criss-crossed with tubing. We have found that deer who were smart enough to push bucket covers off and drink sap will eventually figure out that if they chew through the tubing they can still get to drink sap. This has not been a real problem, but occasionally you will encounter a smart alecky deer who has figured it out. We have had that happen twice in four or five years. We had one last year who kept chewing the tubing in the same spot for several days. I finally had enough connectors put in that he couldn't chew through them any more and left the line alone. Why it didn't just move down the line two feet an chew it through again, I don't know. Maybe he just decided to go across the fence line and pester the nieghbor instead. I am paying between $37 and $45 dollars per 500 ft roll of 3/16 tubing. I am assuming you won't use a vacuum pump on the tubing. Keep your tubing small enough that it runs full of sap thus creating it's own vaccum. We are running as many as 300 to 400 taps on 3/16 line and getting enough vacuum to get 10% to 15% more sap compared to when those trees were on buckets. We have as few as 27 taps on on line and we are still getting enough vacuum to yield more sap than we did when they were on buckets. We only have about 5-6 feet of drop on that 27 taps. The biggest headache with tubing is making sure you have blowdowns cleared off the tubing before the snow packs down the deadfall and then the tubing is underneath a foot of snow with a stinking branch over the top of the tubing. That's a real pain.

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Dachshund

02-27-2020 05:27:42




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
I've never been able to stomach Maple syrup....two sickly sweet for me. My wife LOVES the "bottom of the barrel" Grade B stuff....I'd rather have the fake stuff from the grocery store.



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Traditional Farmer

02-27-2020 04:06:42




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Maple Syrup Festival in Highland County VA every March well worth the trip there if you have never been,unique place locally called Little Switzerland.A drive on US 250 from Staunton VA
over into WVA has some good sights.



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Jeffcat

02-26-2020 15:32:24




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Another thought. Some of our members sell a little syrup year to year. Is there anyone who is selling this year? It is just me so I only need a bottle or two. Thanks.



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barnyardorange

02-26-2020 15:10:23




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Our small farm in NY has about 220 taps in this year and we have made about 12 gallons of syrup so far this season. We have 3 collections sites with gravity tubing. Sump pump into tank on back of tractor then to the sugar house. sump pump to another barrel, gravity fed into evaporator and boil boil boil and ..... yea boil, we then have syrup which we test with a hygrometer. This is about our 10th year or so doing it. A lot of work, but also a lot of satisfaction!

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clyde mason

02-26-2020 14:41:06




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
my son and myself taped a few trees and used a turkey fryer. we used 50.00 of gas to do a 50 gal batch. the last 3 or 4 years the state fair has a booth set up fof it. they sell a gallon for 45.00. i am out of business. i get a gallon every .



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jm.

02-26-2020 14:11:00




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
I know we do not get the real stuff down here in the South. I shipped someone on this board some dozer parts and he sent me some real maple syrup, I think he was from New York but nothing like it for sure. Lost the bottle or I would order some more.



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Brian G. NY

02-26-2020 13:38:11




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

That's your best bet.....my wife's cousin has a pretty nice little sap house.

Does anywhere from 60 to 85 gals a year.

He sets about 45 to 50 taps on my maples and gives me all the syrup I can use.

I do go over and help him some too......I helped his grandpa with maple syrup when I was a teenager back in the 50s.

I occasionally run across people who don't like the "real" thing.

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hayray

02-26-2020 13:38:14




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Dave , your a bit late to get started in our area now



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Dave H (MI)

02-26-2020 13:53:15




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to hayray, 02-26-2020 13:38:14  
I was worried about that some, Ray. I know the neighbor just did hers but it would be a week at least before I could get set up and get over there and start. NOT going to hurt my feelings if I have to wait a year!



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JDEM

02-26-2020 13:35:04




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
You can make it in a big pot over a wood fire, but it takes so long to boil off the water the syrup you make will be dark, "grade B" syrup. Likely not going to taste like the syrup some professional gave you. Unless your sap is unusually high in sugar content. Getting the water out fast is the key to clear, grade A. That is why pros use reverse osmosis and fast evaporators. If you have a lot of hard and/or black maples and really want to make it yourself more then once, a small evaporator is the way to go.

I cannot say I see a huge difference between some fake syrups and the real thing and I made syrup for many years. Years back, L.L. Bean got busted for selling "Pure Maple Syrup" that was made from sugar beets and had NO maple content yet it tasted very good. As I recall they got caught because a large group of Canadian syrup producers had L.L. Bean investigated.

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RedMF40

02-26-2020 13:25:35




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Always pure maple syrup here, usually from Canada. Five or six bucks buys a small bottle, I think around 16 ounces. If I suspect a waffle or pancake is in my future, I toss a bottle in the car. The local cafs know if I come in for breakfast I'll be using my own syrup. They make fun of me but I'm ok with that. I have real syrup.



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Dave bn

02-26-2020 13:12:21




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Takes a long time to boil it down then goes from liquid to candy real fast so must watch it closely at the end. We didn't have a candy thermometor when I was a kid and thar made it tricky. We ended up with candy quite a few times. Takes a lot of sap to make a little syrup but it is worth it and makes nice gifts. You need to collect sap e every day.

Dave



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jacksun65

02-27-2020 19:10:54




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave bn, 02-26-2020 13:12:21  
LOL Did the candy thing once trying to make syrup, that stuff will pull the fillings out of your teeth LOL



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Mike(NEOhio)

02-26-2020 13:09:46




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
I've run across a number of people who were raised on log cabin etc. then tried real syrup for the first time and didn't like it. An uncle used to give us a quart every year of Vermont syrup a friend would send him for that reason.



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Thomasthetankengine

02-26-2020 13:04:38




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
All I have to add is; Pour some maple syrup over vanilla ice cream for a real treat. Breakfast cereal too!!!!



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Jeffcat

02-26-2020 12:53:30




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
I would just work a deal with your client. Come tap my trees and give me a few bottles of the juice. If they are really close it might work.



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texasranger

02-26-2020 11:59:55




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
I make it here in Pa. Its not too hard to get into, many local hardware stores have the supplies for tapping and i use mason jars for canning it. As far as boiling i use an old heating oil tank that i cut the top off of and i got a pan that was my neighbors dads. check craigslist for old pans, you can find them on there sometimes.



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gundoctor

02-26-2020 11:50:10




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Find someone who now make syrup and have them tap your trees for the sap. In return for the sap he gives you a year supply of Maple Syrup. They do this here in Vermont which is the largest producer in this country!!!!!



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onefarmer

02-26-2020 11:39:59




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
I have a neighbor who make small batches of syrup. He had a SS pan made about 2x4" and he cut the top out of a barrel based wood stove. The opening is just big enough to lay the pan in. He does it all just off his porch so it's outside but not too far from the house.

I have a bunch old taps you can have if you'd like them.



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Dave H (MI)

02-26-2020 13:57:19




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to onefarmer, 02-26-2020 11:39:59  
I can't remember where you are at. I think I am confusing two people.



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onefarmer

02-26-2020 15:01:08




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 13:57:19  
Use the Map lol

I'm up just south of St Johns



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Dave H (MI)

02-27-2020 11:27:08




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to onefarmer, 02-26-2020 15:01:08  
Duh! I knew I remembered the handle! Thick as a post some days.



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Zachary Hoyt

02-26-2020 11:31:49




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
I used to know some folks who made a little syrup in their kitchen. They would put 4 pots on the stove and fill them with sap, and turn the range hood fan on high, and they said they didn't have trouble with steam in the house. It would be a good way to start, Our first year we used 1 gallon milk jugs since we didn't have buckets yet. Zach



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jCarroll

02-26-2020 13:10:27




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Zachary Hoyt, 02-26-2020 11:31:49  
First year a guy at work did this he removed the kitchen wallpaper.



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DoubleO7

02-26-2020 11:20:15




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
I have never tried black walnut syrup but I could by some in our local
Publix grocery store.



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DoubleO7

02-26-2020 10:56:53




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Sounds like another good use of a turkey fryer.



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Dave H (MI)

02-26-2020 11:22:09




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to DoubleO7, 02-26-2020 10:56:53  
It is amazing how many things you don't want to cook in the house. Turkey fryer is always handy.



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ztrmowers

02-26-2020 10:54:18




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
its a lot more work and time involved than you think,my trees were tapped last week friend does it and we get a lot from him he gives us. buy from your friend and be done with it from what I have seen my friend do and go thru to make the syrup. we get fresh honey and syrup from his projects



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Dave H (MI)

02-26-2020 11:21:00




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to ztrmowers, 02-26-2020 10:54:18  
I don't care. I'm not the one doing it. The memsahib wants to do it. My one and only contribution will be to select the trees and put in the taps. Then I am back to doing tax returns and getting my pannenkoeken at IHOP. :)



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Hendrik

02-26-2020 13:55:26




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 11:21:00  
Any chance your ancestry is Dutch?
Pannenkoeken LOL
Hendrik, The Netherlands
BTW my wife makes apple syrup, yummie



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Centash

02-26-2020 16:43:21




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Hendrik, 02-26-2020 13:55:26  
Ik heb ook van pannenkoeken! Lekker met stroop!

Ben



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Dave H (MI)

02-26-2020 14:06:46




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Hendrik, 02-26-2020 13:55:26  
That's what my dad always called pancakes. He was born here but 100% Nederlander. I could not tell you if my grandparents were off the boat or if it went back more generations. His father died in the flu epidemic in the early 20th century and his mother was not big on family history. My mom had quite a mix in her family so I can only boast 50%. I have some inflections in my speech that drive my family nuts. Most notably milk. I pronounce it MELK and always have. They keep correcting me. Want me to say MILL-K. I can't get my tongue around it. :)

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Hendrik

02-26-2020 14:25:46




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 14:06:46  
Thank you, Dave. That is quite a story.
An uncle (born in 1925, younger brother of my Dad) and aunt of mine emigrated to Canada in 1952, and yes, travelling by boat. They proudly became "Canadians by Choice"; never lost their Dutch accent (inflection, LOL) though. They were a lovely couple and I stayed with them for nearly six months in 1977 while doing a training/internship, which helped me getting my BSc in Mechanical Engineering with honors.

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ztrmowers

02-26-2020 13:40:01




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 11:21:00  
that's fine just wanted you to know that its not just catch it and use it



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Dave H (MI)

02-26-2020 13:59:18




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to ztrmowers, 02-26-2020 13:40:01  
Yeah...I'm just kidding. I can handle it. I make my own tomato paste from scratch. You want to talk about a back breaker. Stuff scorches way too easy. You can't walk away for a minute toward the end or it is ruined.



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BarnyardEngineering

02-26-2020 10:51:42




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Around here, you can get basic maple syrup equipment right off the shelf at Tractor Supply this time of year. Spiles, buckets, thermometers, etc..

You don't need a fancy evaporator until you start making a LOT of syrup. A pot on the stove works just fine, and a gallon goes a long way.



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1130Leo

02-26-2020 10:41:52




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
I had a friend make me an stainless steel evaporator pan, 2 ft x 2 ft x 1 ft deep. Have a double burner propane stove, outdoors, pan on top, and boil, and boil, and boil... until it starts to thicken and turn light brown. I usually then pour that off into a pan and finish it on the stove. You can also tap black walnut, and birch trees for syrup.



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Dave H (MI)

02-26-2020 11:17:13




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to 1130Leo, 02-26-2020 10:41:52  
I am curious about the black walnut as I have a couple hundred of these to choose from. Does it taste any different? Is the sap run later (because these trees are the last to leaf out)?



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hayray

02-26-2020 13:43:33




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 11:17:13  
Bout the same just takes more sap cause less sugar



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Mike M

02-26-2020 10:36:35




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Might be farther ahead to just buy some off that client ?



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Dave H (MI)

02-26-2020 11:15:08




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Mike M, 02-26-2020 10:36:35  
Where is your spirit of adventure, Mike?!?



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Mike M

02-26-2020 12:33:44




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 11:15:08  
I lost that years ago. lol.



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Bruce from Can.

02-26-2020 10:29:43




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
While starting small as Ben says is a good idea, not so sure I’d be boiling the sap in the house. There is the 40:1 ratio to consider. 40 gallon of sap makes one gallon of syrup. You will evaporate a lot of sticky steam into your house even if you only make a half gallon of syrup. I would recommend a propane powered burner and a very large pot outside, say on your porch/deck or patio, and not to close to your house walls. We used to put out as many as 300 taps some years, and boiled it in the Bush with a open fire, in large kettles that held around 40 gallons of sap each. Once you have collected the sap, it must be kept cool until you boil it into syrup. Sap will only stay fresh a few days, then start to turn. If you have some 5 gallon food grade pails, you could put two or even three taps on one tree , and run some plastic pipe from the tap on the tree into the pail. Assuming you have no equipment, this way you wouldn’t have to get a pail to hang on each tap.

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Russ from MN

02-26-2020 11:40:50




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Bruce from Can., 02-26-2020 10:29:43  
I have also heard that you should not boil it in a house or garage, it will eventually leave a sticky residue all over everything. Most do it in a sugar shack, a well ventilated shed.



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mtman

02-26-2020 10:26:38




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
We must be careful while boiling sap into syrup on the cook stove in side. I know today we have fans and other ways to change the air in our houses, but years ago a lot of our women folks got pneumonia other respiratory ailments from so much steam in the house. So be careful.



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Centash

02-26-2020 10:14:37




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-26-2020 10:09:20  
Start off with just a couple trees and boil it down on your kitchen stove....then if that's good, expand next year. Better yet, just come to Canada and buy the best maple syrup on the planet!

Ben



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big tee

02-26-2020 10:56:16




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Centash, 02-26-2020 10:14:37  
Hey Loren--Any second opinions here??? Like SV says "I'll get the popcorn"---Tee



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Adirondack case guy

02-26-2020 16:26:53




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to big tee, 02-26-2020 10:56:16  
Denny; NO, I have watched a number of U-Tubers tapping trees for making maple syrup. I have made comments and got all kinds of critical answers about how to drill a hole in a dammed tree and how to sterilize the drill bit between each tree you drill a hole into. What a bunch of PC citiots we have in this country now, that are self proclaimed country living experts. Watched a self proclaimed farmer who makes all kinds of videos about how to farm and what equipment is needed to farm, the other day who went to a guys place down south to make a video about how to make Maple Syrup and strangely, just Water, (in their own words), comes out of the trees. They run the WATER thru an RO machine, dump it into a NG fired "COOKER" until it mysteriously turns to a brown sticky sweet mixture and they don't filter it to remove lime and other solids, or grade it, just call it "ORGANIC" Maple Syrup.-----------------------------Loren

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Donald Lehman

02-27-2020 09:40:51




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Adirondack case guy, 02-26-2020 16:26:53  
Hmmmmmmmmmmm, sterilizing drill bits between trees...................Don't believe I've heard that one before......................



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Adirondack case guy

02-27-2020 17:59:09




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Donald Lehman, 02-27-2020 09:40:51  
Neither have I and boy did I get ripped for saying that.------------Loren



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formerly ny bill

02-27-2020 05:01:49




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Adirondack case guy, 02-26-2020 16:26:53  
lol- "we need to teach the prof how to do it...."



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big tee

02-26-2020 17:21:34




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 Re: Maple syrup in reply to Adirondack case guy, 02-26-2020 16:26:53  
Easy Big Guy--We have to watch our tickers at our age--Are you and yours boiling yet? I know nothing about Maple trees except the one between my shop and the Wife's house drips on me when I walk under it this time of the year. I would like to try some of your syrup--does your operation ship? Our local Menards [a building center} had a pallet of neat little plastic jugs of maple syrup on display last Spring and I bought one--It was good but I don't know in a side by side taste test with that brown sugar water in the grocery store if I could tell the difference--That's all--Good Luck---Tee

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