How To Harvest Your Own Maple Syrup
Harvesting your own maple syrup ensures you get pure, organic maple syrup directly from the source. The sap generally starts flowing mid-February, or March when the day-time temperature is above 0 Celcius (32F), and is fairly easy to collect. Identify the tree you want to tap. Any native Maple Tree with a diameter of 11 inches or greater at a level of 4 ft above ground can be tapped. Locate and mark your tap sites (based on diammeter of tree):
11 to 17 inches = 1 tap
18 to 24 inches = 2 taps
24 inches and up = 3 taps
You'll need a drill with a 5/16th bit, a spile and a collecting bucket. When ready, drill a hole into each tap site, 2 to 3 inches deep slanting slightly upwards from the trunk. Use the bit size of five-sixteenths, as to not injure the tree, and allow it to heal faster. Avoid tapping over large roots or branches. If making multiple taps, space them out 6 inches vertically, 3 inches horizontally. Insert the spile (the collecting spout), and lightly tap it in to a snug fit. Hang your bucket on the spile, or place it directly underneath so the sap can drip directly into it. Sap flows at a rate of about 200 drops per minute; be sure to check your bucket each day; on warmer days the sap could over-fill and be wasted. Once collected, boil your sap so it does not spoil. It will eventually turn a dark golden brown, and thicken in consistency as the water boils off and the sugar content increases. When your syrup has reached your desired consistency (when it aprons off the spoon) it's done; strain it and place it in a sealed jar.