In my recent post, "Signs of spring," I mentioned seeing maples trees that have been tapped to collect the syrup. I thought I'd post a couple of photos today.
There are two kinds of maples that are best for the purpose of turning sap into maple syrup: sugar maple (acer saccharum) and black maple (acer nigrum). Their sap has the highest sugar content--which is only about 2% to 3%.
Nowadays, sap collectors use plastic tubing for directing sap into the bucket, sometimes using vacuum pumps to keep the sap flowing steadily.
According to the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, with a 2% average sugar content, 43 gallons of sap will need to be collected to yield a gallon of maple syrup. By law, the minimum concentration of sugar in maple syrup must be 66%.
Every tap-hole in a maple tree will yield about 10 gallons of sap, enough for a quart of syrup. (You can find that and many other fun facts here.)
Here's a sign on a dirt road not far from where we live:
The people who live here have a sugar house on their property and a lot of tapped maples with tubing running, in some cases, directly into what I assume are tanks in the sugar house. It takes a lot of boiling to reduce 40+ gallons of sap to a gallon of maple syrup!
Since we moved to a rural area, I've really enjoyed the signs of seasonal change, especially those you can see only out in the country.
Yes, the sap is running ... can spring be far behind?