Danielle pushing a spile in to a maple tree

Adventures in Tree Tapping

Tree Tapping: Easy, Tasty, Fun!

On March 27th, a few TreeTime.ca employees with cabin fever left the warm comfort of their office to brave the first signs of spring and try some tree tapping. They found some Manitoba Maple trees, drilled into them, attached a plastic tap with some vinyl tubing that collected sap in carefully washed gallon milk jugs.

Scott tapping the first maple tree on our journey
Scott tapping the first maple tree on our journey
Danielle pushing a spile in to a maple tree
Danielle pushing a spile in to a maple tree

As a result, their milk jugs contained a total of 1 full gallon of sap the next day. The taps were all easily removed.

Next, the gallon of sap was boiled down carefully (no more than 107C) to make about 100 ml (just over 3 oz) of Manitoba Maple Syrup. They brought it to work the next morning for a careful taste test.

Maple sap being reduced on stovetop to create syrup
Maple sap being reduced on stovetop to create syrup

These comments were overheard at that tasting:

“Hmmm. Wow.”

“Buttery”

“Much more pleasant than I was expecting – I’d actually eat that”.

“Significantly better than Birch Syrup.”

“Ya. Kind of like butter but sweet.”

Upon reflection, this was a really fun and very Canadian DIY project. While it took a bit of time, it was a very easy and rewarding experience. If you have kids, friends, family that would enjoy being outdoors instead of trapped indoors you should try this little project. If you love a very tasty syrup (some liked it more than traditional Sugar Maple Syrup) you should try this. It was some great memories and some excellent tasting syrup. Consequently, the syrup was inappropriately hoarded by one employee… you know who you are.

Some facts:

  • Sugar, Silver, and Manitoba maples, paper birch, black walnut, and other trees are tapped each spring to turn their sap into tasty goodness.
  • Silver maple is reported to be similar in taste to sugar maple syrup
  • Manitoba Maple Syrup is a 40:1 ratio by many reports but varied in sugar content from tree to tree. Many prairie provinces and Atlantic provinces have operations producing the syrup.
  • Sugar Maple syrup is often quoted as being a 25:1 ratio
  • Paper Birch syrup is not as sweet and some reports say one needs a 100:1 ratio to make syrup