Growing up in Western New York, maple syrup is a huge part of our lives. Every March our area has "Maple Sugar Weekends" where the industry is highlighted and families can take part in watching the process and tasting the yummy results. If you have never watched huge vats of maple sap boiling down, and realized exactly how much sap is necessary to make just a small bottle of pure maple syrup, you will never know just how precious that syrup is that makes your stack of pancakes so delicious.
Recently we were given the opportunity to try our hand at making our very own maple syrup, with the Maple Sugaring Starter Kit with Aluminum Buckets from Tap My Trees. I have always been so fascinated with the maple sugaring process, and have such a tremendous respect for those who work so hard during the month of March here in my area, to make enough maple syrup to last all year long. To try it at home with my own family will be such a treat!
After opening up our large package from Tap My Trees, the girls were pretty excited over the prospect of making our own syrup. They cannot wrap their brains around how much sap will be needed for just one pancake breakfast, and I can't wait to show them.
Our Starter Kit includes everything needed to walk out into the yard and begin tapping sap when the temperature is right.
|Sugaring At Home Starter Kit
Starter Kit includes:
- 3 Aluminum (2 gallon) buckets that have a reinforced hole to hang the bucket to the tree.
- 3 Metal lids to attach to the buckets. This prevents rain or debris (or bird droppings, as my daughter pointed out) from contaminating your sap.
- 3 stainless steel spiles. These are inserted into the drilled holes, and allow the sap to flow freely into the bucket.
- 3 hooks - attached to the spile and and used to hang the bucket off of.
- 7/16 drill bit with 3/8 shank used to drill the holes into your trees.
- Cheesecloth - used to filter debris or bark from the sap when transferring the sap from the bucket to the storage container.
There is a very educational and handy instructional book that tells you everything from the history of maple sugaring (it started with the Native Americans) to teaching you how to identify trees in your yard for tapping. There are plenty of tips to make your tapping adventure a success, including step by step instructions and illustrations, and a list of other resources to 'tap' into.
Because we are still in the middle of a Western New York winter, we have to wait a little while before we can start tapping. When the temperatures are warmer during the day (40's) yet still dropping below freezing at night, that will be the prime season for collecting sap. Typically this doesn't happen in our area until the beginning of March.
In the mean time, what we could do with the kit is read through the instructions, and identify trees in our backyard that would make good candidates for tapping. The kit contains enough materials for three taps. We have one thinner tree, and one older tree that is actually thick enough in diameter to support two taps, according to the handbook.
|Measuring trees in our backyard.
I was so impressed with the quality of the materials in this kit. Not only is Tap My Trees providing my family with a great educational and fun experience, but we are learning food safety procedures, and being able to use high quality, food grade materials as well. If cared for properly, as the handbook instructs, I foresee the buckets and taps lasting many years, and being ready to use every spring to make our own maple syrup.
|Food Grade quality buckets and covers
One thing I learned is that the sap can be tasted straight from the tree. In fact, many Native Americans and other cultures drink the tree sap from maples and birches for medicinal purposes. I think we will have to try that as well, if the girls are brave enough!
Thank you, Tap My Trees, for providing our family with a unique experience!
Tap My Trees has made some simple YouTube videos to show how easy it is to use their kit to make your own maple syrup:
To follow Tap My Trees on their other social media sites, click the following links:
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