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Tap Tap Tap Maple Sap

February 21st, 2010

These are the words to the first song I ever learned to play on the piano when I was a little girl. I still remember sitting at the old piano in the basement plinking out those keys while singing along, all the while waiting for kitchen timer to ding so I could quit practicing. You can guess why I was humming this song yesterday.

It was a beautiful sunny day and the temperatures climbed slightly above freezing. Not quite prime sugaring season yet, but we wanted to get some of our trees tapped since tomorrow the temperature is supposed to be close to 40. We were just going to put one tap in the tree we can see from the kitchen window, so we could watch it. When it started flowing we would install the rest of the taps. As soon as we tapped the tree a little drop of sap appeared on the end of the spile. It was warm enough yesterday to start the sap flowing.

Since the sap was flowing we put in all 12 taps that we had on hand. We ordered a bunch more spiles a week ago, but haven’t received them yet, they’ll be put in as soon as we get them. The taps produced about a gallon of sap by dusk, it will be stored until we get more before boiling it down. It’s forecasted to be almost 40 today which should produce good sap flow. But then it’s supposed to get cold again next week which will probably stop the flow. We’re hoping for a good sugaring season this year resulting in a few gallons of syrup.

What kind of syrup is in your cupboard, the real stuff or Aunt Jemima?

37 Comments to “Tap Tap Tap Maple Sap”
  1. Mangochild on February 21, 2010 at 8:03 am

    The real stuff! Because my family never used syrup when I was growing up, I only started in on it over the past few years. And living in CT, its great to have local maple syrup to enjoy. Last year I went to one of the maple syrup “farms” for the sugarings, and loved it. (And loved gorging on the wide variety of things that can be made with maple syrup, especially the sugar snow.) I plan to go again this year, and stock up on my maple syrup needs :-)
    .-= Mangochild´s last blog ..New Local Blog On The Scene! =-.

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  2. The Mom on February 21, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I’m in New England, so it has to be the real stuff. My sister used to tap her trees, but hasn’t the last few years. So, now I have friends that give me syrup, or we go to the maple sugaring farm down the street.
    .-= The Mom´s last blog ..February seed starting =-.

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  3. Christine on February 21, 2010 at 8:59 am

    The real stuff, for sure. Living in Florida, it’s not really something we can do ourselves, so it’s pretty awesome to see the process here.
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Pit-fired Bowls =-.

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  4. Tree Huggin Momma on February 21, 2010 at 9:46 am

    The way my kids eat syrup (at least 1x a week) and $17 for a tiny bottle (that would last maybe 2 meals) its the fake stuff. I will be looking into other syrups this summer (fruit based).
    .-= Tree Huggin Momma´s last blog ..Finding My Path =-.

    Reply to Tree Huggin Momma's comment

    • Susy on February 21, 2010 at 10:41 am

      It is expensive. You should look into finding a place to buy it it bulk, it’s much cheaper that way. When we didn’t tap I’d buy it by the gallon, it was expensive but much cheaper than buying in the smaller bottles. I think around $30/gallon.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. deb on February 21, 2010 at 11:03 am

    We will be sapping over here too but most likely it will begin in about a month or so. We started last year and had 2 gallons of syrup by the end of the season. This year we hope to do even more!

    Sapping season is truly something to look forward to – knowing that spring is in the air!

    Wishing you bucketfuls of sap! :)
    .-= deb´s last blog ..taxes + coffee =-.

    Reply to deb's comment

  6. Hanna Fushihara on February 21, 2010 at 11:11 am

    REAL! I bought our last gallon at the Maple Festival last spring in Rhinebeck, NY and we’re just starting to run out. So even though it is expensive it can last a long time if you don’t over use it. (I use it for everything you’d normally use sugar for though….) YUM!
    .-= Hanna Fushihara´s last blog ..X.O.Triangle.Square =-.

    Reply to Hanna Fushihara's comment

  7. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on February 21, 2010 at 11:24 am

    The real stuff! I’m lucky enough to do business with a company who sends me gallons of the real deal from Maine. I sure hope we never stop doing business with them!

    Reply to Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary's comment

    • Susy on February 21, 2010 at 11:58 am

      That sounds like a GREAT deal!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Rose on February 21, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Rarely, the real stuff (but it is very expensive in the UK). However, I have managed to get sprog interested in rosehip sirip I make at home and this is becoming a close second to maple – and I’ve roses growing all over in my garden

    Reply to Rose's comment

    • Susy on February 21, 2010 at 11:57 am

      Sounds interesting. I also like to make fruit syrups to use over pancakes and stuff as well.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Kelly on February 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    We have family in VT who make/sell maple syrup so we’ve always got the good stuff (not to say, come December, that we aren’t running out, but we don’t buy the fake stuff – it’s gross!).
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Vertigo… Again =-.

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  10. Frugal Trenches on February 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Definitely the real stuff, from Canada.
    .-= Frugal Trenches´s last blog ..Reclaiming Simple Sundays =-.

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  11. JP on February 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Do you really use those glass jars? I often see plastic gallon milk jugs at people’s houses who don’t own sap buckets ($$) and of course a lot of the home operations here use lines – but they’re obviously not boiling in their kitchens! Our bad luck is that the maples in our yard are Norway maples; luckily the in-laws have a nice mountainside operation.
    .-= JP´s last blog ..Growing Apple Chairs =-.

    Reply to JP's comment

    • Susy on February 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      Yes we use the glass jar, partly because we have them sitting around so they’re FREE. But mostly we use them because we are no longer comfortable using plastic around our food in light of all the research about PBA.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. Anita / Married ...with Dinner on February 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Even though we’re on the other side of the country, it’s definitely the real thing in our fridge. I’d rather eat my pancakes plain (or with fruit) than use the fake stuff.

    Beautiful photos — love the glass carafes.
    .-= Anita / Married …with Dinner´s last blog ..In a (carrot) pickle =-.

    Reply to Anita / Married …with Dinner's comment

  13. stefaneener on February 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    so very lucky. We would do a lot to have our own. Syrup is a sweetener of choice here, no doubt.

    Reply to stefaneener's comment

  14. MAYBELLINE on February 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Log Cabin. I’ve never had the real stuff.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Sweet Rain =-.

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  15. Morgan G on February 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Yikes. This is gonna hurt. Fake stuff. Any recommendations for a real stuff artisan near Southern California?
    .-= Morgan G´s last blog ..Low-Impact Footwear Purchase: Pass or Fail? =-.

    Reply to Morgan G's comment

  16. Pampered Mom on February 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    The real stuff, of course! It’s Anderson’s Grade B which is my absolute favorite. We don’t use much maple syrup so it lasts quite a bit. I still have plans to consider taping our trees someday.
    .-= Pampered Mom´s last blog .."The Practice of Paying Attention" and "The Practice of Wearing Skin" =-.

    Reply to Pampered Mom's comment

  17. Ken Toney on February 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    The real stuff. I just tapped 3 of our trees this weekend. We have a couple dozen sugar maple trees on our farm in West Virginia. I just got into making maple syrup and am excited about it.

    For storing the syrup, have you ever canned syrup in mason jars? I’d like to keep it out of the fridge or freezer.
    .-= Ken Toney´s last blog ..Break in the Weather =-.

    Reply to Ken Toney's comment

    • Susy on February 21, 2010 at 9:16 pm

      We didn’t get enough to can last year, but I’ve read that all you need to do is pour the hot syrup into hot sterilized jars within about 1/4-1/8 of the rim and then put a lid on it. Since the syrup is so hot that’s supposed to seal the jars. I can’t say from experience that it works though, but that’s how I plan on doing it this year. If they do develop mold all you have to do is strain the mold out and reboil.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  18. Dawn on February 21, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    We just tapped our one and only maple tree last year and it was so much fun! I used the taps like you have, but with milk jugs. Where could I get the glass containers and metal holders like you are using?


    Reply to Dawn's comment

    • Susy on February 22, 2010 at 1:09 am

      These are just Weck one liter canning bottles. I bought them at Lehman’s. You can order them from a Weck supplier (go to The hooks came with our spiles and we simply use wire to make loops around the bottle necks. We also use quart or half gallon mason jars and I have a few quart glass milk bottles we use as well.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  19. warren on February 22, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Real stuff! We tapped our tree yesterday too!
    .-= warren´s last blog ..Maple Syrup…teaching the kids to work =-.

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  20. Sara on February 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Always Grade B, and when possible, 100% Vermont!
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Oliver + S Sailboat Top =-.

    Reply to Sara's comment

  21. melissa on February 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    The real stuff!! I might have a bottle of Aunt Jemima left over from the ex-husband but I don’t eat it. Nothing but real for me.

    So jealous!
    .-= melissa´s last blog ..we’ve no time for later =-.

    Reply to melissa's comment

  22. Tommy on February 22, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Out here in Southern CA, I’ve never tapped maple trees—but my pantry is full of fruit syrups from my trees (apricot, peach, nectarine, pomegranate, plum).
    Unfortunately, the real maple syrup is so expensive for us out here.

    Reply to Tommy's comment

  23. Michelle on February 23, 2010 at 11:16 am

    We’ve got the real stuff…thanks to my husband’s grandmother sending us some from Ohio. Her good friend in PA, an Amish woman, sells it and it’s delicious!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Monday, Monday… =-.

    Reply to Michelle's comment

  24. Jen on February 24, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Good luck with the sap harvest, Suzy! I buy the real stuff, too, but am having trouble with the price, so I was also looking into tapping our maple trees – we have about a dozen. But then I learned you need about 50 gallons of sap per gallon of syrup. I’d have to have it on the stove for days, probably. Would the money I save on electricity even make it worth it. I guess it might be fun to do once, though. Another concern, I’m told you must boil within 24 hours or it starts to go bad, is that true?
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Frost Valley Maple Sugaring Hike =-.

    Reply to Jen's comment

    • Susy on February 24, 2010 at 11:42 pm

      It does take about 40-50 gallons of sap (depending on type of maple). We boil ours outside over a fire and some of it over a propane burner (one of those for the turkey fryers). I finish it inside on the stove where I can be precise.

      Storage isn’t really an issue, you can store the sap as many weekenders do (I think you can store for about a week at a cold temp). You do have to keep it cold, we have been saving since we tapped since it’s not flowing super well yet, we have a few big canning pots full and we’ll start boiling Friday I think (we should have 20-25 gallons by then).

      I would recommend getting “Backyard Sugarin’ 2” from the library and giving it a read, short quick to read and it gives a great overview of how to do it on a smaller scale without spending much money.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  25. Sherri on February 25, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Definitely the real stuff, but that’s mostly for my hubby and son. I actually don’t like the taste, so I use local raw honey. Can’t imagine buying the fake stuff -yuck!
    .-= Sherri´s last blog ..raw milk =-.

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  26. Maple Sugaring on a Small Scale | Chiot's Run on March 5, 2010 at 4:46 am

    […] rest of this week and next week look like it’s going to be beautiful, especially for sugaring. At first we weren’t getting much sap so we saved it for about a week until we had 15-20 gallons. We stored […]

    Reply to Maple Sugaring on a Small Scale | Chiot’s Run's comment

    • Kwong on March 12, 2010 at 10:12 am

      I live in No Cal in Grass Valley, 2300′ elevation, I test drilled 3 trees 3 days ago – no flow yet. It’s freezing overnight and 40 to 50 in the day. Can someone advise me.

      Reply to Kwong's comment

      • Susy on March 12, 2010 at 10:44 am

        That’s weird, you should be getting some flow. Here’s a good article about home sugaring, it might have some good tips in there for you:

        to Susy's comment

  27. jeanee on April 7, 2010 at 12:18 am

    too funny, I was singing this to myself tonite and thought I’d Google it.
    love it that I found your post.
    It was likely my first song too. 40 years ago

    Reply to jeanee's comment

    • Susy on April 7, 2010 at 7:42 am

      I haven’t found anyone else that learned to play it yet besides me and my sister.

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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