Tis the season for tapping! Maple syrup and honey are two of my favorite sweeteners. Really, the only ones I use. I don’t like fake sweeteners. I haven’t done this in a few years, but there’s no reason I shouldn’t. Tapping maple trees is very easy, and the product is so nutrient dense and versatile. Getting your own maple sap is free, aside from buying the spigot. The last time I did it, we tapped 2 trees. One produced gallons a day. it was unbelievable. We couldn’t keep up with the collection, but it froze well.
Like I said, it’s versatile. Maple sap is pretty much maple syrup, watered down 40 times. Actually, maple syrup is maple sap boiled down 40:1. Maybe you’ve gotten sap at whole foods. Well, if you think that’s good, you’re in for a treat! If you tap a tree that is.
I like to use it for brewing tea and coffee. I did boil some down with a lot of vanilla and then some chaga, cat’s claw and pau d’arco. It was a very palatable way to use those herbs, but it wasn’t a syrup. It's nutrient packed on its own. Not too sweet and pretty mineral dense. It can be a good source of manganese. It's really simple and easy to collect. It's like New England's coconut water.
You'll want to do this like, now. The sap flows the most when the temperature fluctuates the most. When it's above freezing during the day, and below freezing at night is prime time. Read more here.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Sugar Maple works best, but tap whatever you want. They’re easy to identify.
plastic gallon jug
containers for storage
You’ll need to:
Identify a Sugar Maple. The bigger the tree, the more taps you can put in. Don’t be greedy.
Using a 3/8” or so drill bit, drill a hole about 2 inches into the tree. Angle it so the sap can drip out. Hammer the spigot in.
Take a gallon jug, and cut a hole in it for the spigot. Using a hole punch, punch a hole for the spigot’s hook.
Hang the jug by the hook
Check every hour or so at first so you get sense of how often you should empty the jug. Debris will accumulate, so the sieve will take the crunch out of your sap.