Substance Amazingly Precious

3-6-2010 Winter 2010, sap 010 Because of such a long hard winter, the weather didn’t permit us to tap our Maple trees till March instead of February! On the other hand because of all the snow, more water was in the ground causing the trees to have more sap flow in them.

This year we tried an experiment tapping Red Maple and Sugar Maple to see if their was any difference in taste or looks. We wanted to tap twice as many Red Maple as Sugar Maples because we had heard that Red wasn’t as sugar-concentrated. Unfortunately, the store we ordered our spouts from was out of stock. Michael, David and I ended up putting twelve taps in Sugar Maples and eight taps in Red Maples on the 13th of March. Last year we left the taps in for about four weeks and harvested just under 100 gallons of sap. But this year we left them in for only one week and we harvested around 150 gallons of sap! Though two big sap producing Sugar Maple trees fell down last spring in a wind storm, we managed to find replacements.

001When the harvesting time had ended we calculated that the Red Maple trees produced about 5 gallons per tree totaling 40 1/2 gallons of sap, boiling down at a rate of 80 to 1. The Sugar Maple averaged 9 1/3 gallons per tree totaling 112 gallons of sap, boiling down at a rate of 55 to 1. After 99 hours of boiling every drop of the150 gallons of sap it all came out to equal 3 gallons of pure maple syrup.

This process would have been impossible if it wasn’t for everybody’s help hauling sap to the house, taking shifts through one night (because of the overload of sap), and watching the sap boil so that I could take short breaks.

Proverbs 13:19a
“The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul”


  1. Esther Staddon March 23, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    So you get more syrup for the ammount of sap you boil if it is Sugar Maple sap. Right? Do you think you’ll only tap Sugar Maples next year, then?

    This desire accomplished has also been sweet to the taste! Thanks for all your work Jonathan!

  2. Crystal March 29, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    Until I read your article, I didn’t know that red maples could be tapped. I thought it was just sugar maples!
    Keep up the great team work!

  3. Michael March 30, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    The ratios given are for thick syrup. Most of our sap was not boiled to as thick a syrup as is traditionally done, hence the almost 3 gallons. Even at a slightly thinner consistency it’s still plenty sweet enough for us and we’ve had no storage issues.
    It was fun helping you Jonathan. I’m so glad you’ve taken the responsibility and initiative to do all this for us! Thank you!
    With the amount of snow we had this year, the trees did yield more sap over a shorter period, but it did need boiled down more than in other years.

  4. Michael March 30, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    By the way Crystal, you can tap any maple including silver, Norway, and boxelder. You can also make syrup form shagbark hickory and sweet birch. I’ve heard you can drink walnut sap, and I’ve even heard of tulip poplar syrup but I’m not sure if it is sweetened with anything else or not.

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