1 tap, hook, bucket and cover (for each tap)
3/8 drill bit
candy or sap thermometer
another clean pot
jar or can to hold the final syrup
Tapping Your Trees
Since sap flows towards the branches you want to position your taps on the tree trunk beneath the largest number of branches. Never tap within 3 inches in any direction of an old tap. You don't want more than three active taps per tree.
Using a 3/8 drill bit, drill (at a slightly upward angle) about 2-3 inches into the trunk. Sap will immediately begin to pour out. Let the hole completely moisten before tapping the spout into it. Hang your bucket and cover it.
After gathering sap - store it in a cool place, maybe a small storage tank or a new clean plastic trash can. Cool places could be in a snow bank, or your cellar, use your imagination.
Boiling the Sap
You will need a large pot for boiling the sap. And a thermometer for keeping track of the temperature. Preferably a sap thermometer. Whatever you use make sure that is measures at least 220 degrees F. (You can purchase a sap thermometer at G.H. Grimms in Rutland.)
Fill your large pot about 1/2 - 3/4 full with fresh sap. Bring sap to a full boil then start adding fresh sap approximately every 20-25 min. Hint: If your sap begins to over boil, you can add a little milk to it to bring the boil back under control. When your sap reaches 218 degrees F it is syrup! Do not let it boil beyond 218 degrees or it will turn to candy fast! (Which is also good, but not what we're after.) Turn off the stove and the syrup will begin cooling.
Immediately after turning off the stove, remove the pot and filter the syrup. Clamp cheese cloth over the top the of the pot and slowly and carefully pour the syrup through it into another clean pan. Transfer the filtered syrup immediately into your final container and seal.
Remember that it takes 32 gallons or more of sap to produce a gallon of syrup. But you can, using less sap, make enough syrup to enjoy on pancakes, or waffles, or you can do like some folks and drink it right out of the jar.
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