tapping a maple tree

------------------------------------------------- Revised 02/01/2021
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MIgardener.com shows you when and how to tap a maple tree,
where to tap, and so much more.

The mapling and sugaring is a process of collecting and boiling the
sap from maple trees in order to make maple syrup. Perhaps we can
produce our own syrup from the maples on our homestead. We
made our own spiles or spigots out of a fir scraps and capped the
hole in the maple tree with an oak dowel.

In the book
Maple Sugar from Sap to Syrup, pictured right, Tim Herd
explains every nuanced step of the sugaring process. Learn to
identify different kinds of maple trees and get inspired to tap the
sugar maples in your backyard. Herd also includes tempting recipes
that use syrup in old-fashioned treats like maple nut bread, maple
eggnog, and pecan pie. It's a great resource, but if you want the
simple process, then check out the steps below on how to tap a

Here are the steps to tap a maple tree:

#1: Find A Maple Tree.
Find a hard maple tree, which will produce the sweetest sap. In the
video above you'll find a hard maple tree with tight bark. Stay away
from the smooth and soft maple trees.

If you have maples on your property then you're in luck. Look for a
maple tree that's at least a foot in diameter ~ with 18 inches being
the optimal maple tree size. To determine the size, wrap a
measuring tape around the tree and then divide by two. That is the
diameter of the tree.

The tree should have access to plenty of sunlight.

#2: Know when to tap.
You can't tap year round, but after Winter and when the weather
starts to warm up is a good time. Know the tree tapping rules,
because if you don't tap properly you risk killing the tree and not
having any maple next year.

When to tap a maple tree:
The time to tap a maple tree starts around February and March.

#3: Find the South facing side of the maple.
Locate the South facing side of the maple you want to tap. This will
be where the sun hits. That's when the sap will be running the best
and you'll get the most maple sap.

#4: Know how to tap.
After you've located the perfect tree, know the rules of how much
maple to tap so that you'll have a tree that produces year after
year. The rules are pretty simple:
  • If your tree is 18 inches in diameter, you can have one tap
  • If your tree is 24 inches in diameter, you can have 3 taps
  • If your tree is 32 inches in diameter, you can have 6 taps
  • If your tree is 39 inches in diameter, cap it at 6 taps

  • Don't tap into the tree more than two inches! This will be
    small enough to heal the tree.

How to tap maple:
Here are the basic steps without any fancy tools:

  • Drill a two-inch hole. When you drill, remember the idea is to
    drill straight, but slightly upwards so the sap runs down. You'll
    eventually close this with a peg.

  • Invest in a good spile. You can craft your own spile, see the
    video below, or buy one online. The spile, pictured right, is a
    hook spout that's especially designed to hold pails. The metal
    will last you many seasons and won't split like the plastic
    variety. A plastic kind might crack and damage your maple.
    You'll want to lightly tap the spile into the whole you've
    drilled. In a few seconds you'll have fresh sap coming out of
    your maple.

  • Drive a small nail above the spout and into the maple to
    suspend your can. This of course is  if you don't have a spile
    with a hook for hanging.

  • Wait and gather your maple. You'll soon have enough to

  • Heat your maple sap on medium. Boil away the scum, which
    rises or allow it to settle. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  • Enjoy the end product. The result is amber syrup to enjoy.

Maple Syrup, along with extracts, chocolate syrups and cocoa
powders, and other condiments, make it to
#31 on the list of 37
foods to hoard. Maple syrup lasts indefinitely, if you do not  reheat
it! If you are lucky enough you can also tap a maple tree for
survival the way the
Native Americans did.
Maple Tapping
How to tap a maple tree for syrup and sugar

How to make sugar:
Maple sugar is a flavorful, light brown and crumbly sugar that's
an excellent substitute for granulated white sugar, though it
looks more like brown sugar. Not only is it more luscious, but
maple sugar is rich with antioxidants and minerals and loaded
with vitamins. Tap into maple for survival!

If you're a prepper and a homesteader, then stockpiling sugar is
an absolute must.
Sugar isn't as bad as you may think, and
eventually you'll run out of sugar you stockpile, so you'll need
to find a way to make sugar.

Maple trees are an excellent source of sugar for you to tap into
in a long-term off-grid scenario. You may like to tap into maple
on your homesteading to make extra money as well.

How to tap a maple tree for survival:
37 foods to hoard before crisis
Gluten free food storage
Reasons to stockpile oats in the prepper's pantry
How to stock the prepper's pantry
Stock up on pilot crackers
What are Bouillon Cubes
Got Milki in your Food Storage?
Cooking with buttermilk powder
Maple Sugar
Above, Wranglerstar shows you the finishing end of mapling and sugaring.

Making Maple Syrup is a fun family tradition for early spring, a time
that doesn't usually have many outdoor activities.

Happy endings...
Feel happy knowing that you've stored away a bucket of Augason
Farms pancakes to go with the maple syrup! You'll want glass jars.
Maple syrup can last indefinitely if you do not heat it up and you
store the sealed jar in a cool dark place.

If you're lucky enough to have a maple tree nearby, take advantage
of the plenty! Maple seeds are edible, and so are the rich sugary
young leaves!

What's more, like the
pine tree inner bark which is also edible, the
maple bark can be eaten during famine. Maple syrup also helps
eliminate toxins from the body! Try a detox and body cleanse with
detox lemonade recipe.

More prepping articles...

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