Maple Syrup Tree Tapping Kit (Pack of 10) Includes Tree Saver Taps Spiles plus Lifetime Taps and Tubing – 3-Foot Drop Line Tubes

I am new to tapping and this has been great.  It is easy enough that even I can figure it out,  which keeps the husband happy since he doesn’t have to come and help.  He did how ever come out and help me tap a few trees in the yard so I had a better understanding before I headed out to the woods ( He’s always worried I will hurt myself away from the house ).  We are surrounded by maples so this is great !  and with the high price of real maple syrup here this is one project we will be doing every year to stock our cupboards.

  • Kit includes: (10) 5/16 inch Maple tree taps (spiles); (10) 5/16 inch x 3-foot blue drop line tubes; LIFETIME GUARANTEE on TAPS and TUBING, Quick-start, instruction sheet by Maple Tapper, the maple tree tapping experts
  • PRE-CONNECTED and READY-TO-USE. Our heavy-duty food grade taps, 3-foot flexible heavy-duty tubing, and Quick Start Instruction Sheet provide EVERYTHING you need to start maple tapping quickly
  • Our specially made darker blue tubing is more bacteria resistant than traditional clear tubing because it draws less sunlight, yet still shows the flow of maple sap. Color is also highly visible in the woods, making it easy to spot when emptying buckets
  • The 5/16 inch tap (tree-saver spile) has been shown to cause 30-35 percent less damage to the tree compared to traditional 7/16 inch spiles
  • LIFETIME GUARANTEE ON ALL TAPS AND TUBES. The perfect maple tapping starter kit for beginning or experienced maple tappers; both kids and adults
Maple sap starts to run as soon as spile is inserted!

In those magical months between winter and spring, as the days warm up and the nights cool down, an age-old process starts in every Maple Tree. The sap starts to run as the tree begins to awaken from its winter sleep. And this short but sweet time is when sugarmakers venture into the woods — or right into their own backyards! — to take part in one of the world’s oldest hobbies. You, too, can join this group and our mission is to help you learn!

Pure maple syrup is 100% organic with absolutely nothing added. And we mean nothing . . . no sugar, no water, no flavorings. It’s just the concentrated version of the sap you see dripping out of the tree and it’s filled with antioxidants. And, of course, delicious! Making your own maple syrup is so much easier than you imagine and it’s a great family activity that even the youngsters will enjoy. The process is not complicated, you need minimal tools (most of which you already have in your kitchen), and you can easily learn everything you need to know in one season. We’ll cover a few steps of the process here but there’s lots more info included with our kits and in our exclusive Guide to Maple Tapping. So let’s learn about sugarmaking . . .

Step One: Gathering Sap

When to Collect Sap: The tapping season varies from region to region but generally starts in late February and lasts until mid-April. When the sap starts and stops running depends greatly on day and nighttime temperature fluctuations. Watch the weather forecast – sap starts flowing when the temperatures are below freezing at night but climb to the 40°F and above range during the day. If this freeze/thaw pattern is predicted, get out and tap your trees! Don’t be tempted to do it early, though, as this could cause the sap to freeze in your spiles which could damage your equipment and the tree. Remove your taps when you have enough sap or when the tree buds out as that can lead to an off or “buddy” flavor in the finished syrup.

Drill the hole: Choose a wood-boring drill bit the same size as your spile. We use Tree Saver spiles that are 5/16″ — these have been shown to cause less damage to the tree without reducing flow. The spile is the black “spout” shown here that goes into the tree. Mark the drill bit with a marker or tape at 1 1/2″ from the end so you’ll know when to stop drilling. Pick a spot on the tree trunk approximately four-feet off the ground below a large branch or above a large root. If using a bucket or jug that will sit on the ground, be sure your tubing will reach the bucket even after the snow melts underneath it. Drill at a slightly upwards angle into the tree and do not go deeper than the mark on the drill bit. Shavings that come out of the hole should be creamy or light yellow and sap will most likely start running immediately.

Insert the spile: Gently tap it in with a hammer until it feels snug. Shown here is the blue plastic food-grade tubing that comes attached to our spiles. We like this tubing for two reasons: the dark color shields the sap from sunlight which can cause bacteria to grow (see below for info on that) and the dark color really shows up well in the woods. Another bonus with tubing is you can connect multiple “runs” into one main tube when you start to up your production. You can, however, just hang a bucket or bag from the spile itself (we have other kits with these versions). Once your spile is inserted, thread the tubing into a clean jug or bucket, preferably with a cover. The tap will stay in the tree for the entire season.

Collect the Sap: Each day, come back to the tree and collect your sap. Sap left sitting in buckets can grow bacteria – this is not harmful as the sap will be boiled but the bacteria will eat away at the sugars which will affect the syrup’s taste. If you can’t boil your sap every day, it can be chilled for a few days until you’ve collected enough to cook. Pour sap through cheesecloth to filter out debris. Normally, a single taphole produces between one quart to one gallon of sap per flow-period

Step Two: Turning Sap into Syrup

Sap becomes syrup as the water is removed through evaporation and the sugars become concentrated. The flavor of finished syrup is created by the caramelization of the sugars during the boiling process – the longer the sap is boiled in the pan, the darker and stronger the flavors become. Flavor can also be affected by the tree’s qualities and genetics; by the time of year and method through which sap is collected; and by the cleanliness of the boiling room and storage containers.

Do I need special tools for boiling?

You will need an outside method of boiling down your sap. Most people use a shallow evaporator pan over a wood fire for the first stage of boiling and then a stainless steel pot on a propane burner or outside stove for the finishing stage. You will also need a candy-type thermometer with a readable, one-degree scale; food-grade, syrup-specific filters; glass jars with sealable lids; and general kitchen tools such as funnels, towels, and wooden spoons. The goal of this process is to boil sap until it reaches 219°F. This can take up to 12 hours depending on your pan size. Our book, Guide to Maple Tapping, thoroughly covers this process. We promise, it’s not complicated. If you can boil water, you can make syrup!

Filtering sap
Part of the boiling process also includes filtering the sap twice. Again, not complicated, but necessary as this removes sugar sand which can make syrup cloudy. The filters used are specifically made for syrup-making and come in different sizes depending on the quantity being filtered.

Some Common Questions.

What to do with all this syrup?
Now this is a good problem to have! After you’ve had your fill of pancakes, there are lots more delicious ways to use pure maple syrup. Here’s one of our favorite recipes:Maple Caramel SauceIngredients:4 oz. butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

Pinch of salt

½ cup pure maple syrup

Directions:  In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add sugar and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved, then adjust heat to medium and boil 2 minutes longer. Add maple syrup and boil, stirring frequently, until sauce is thick, smooth, and coats a spoon, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and hold warm for serving. Pour over ice cream, pound cake, oatmeal, or fruit crisps or use as dipping sauce for fresh fruit.

Does tapping hurt the tree?
This photo is the same tree shown being tapped six months later — you can see the bark filling back in. Many maple tree farms have been tapping the same trees for over 100 years. The key is to tap healthy trees, follow good procedures, and be gentle when removing the spile. We’ve started using 5/16″ Tree Saver spiles because they’ve been shown to be gentler to the tree but not reduce sap flow. Each taphole, however, must be placed in a different spot on the tree from the previous year. One thing to note: the bottom 4- to 6-foot “tapping zone” will result in trees that are less valuable if cut down for lumber.
Can kids help?
The answer is absolutely YES! Best of all, this is a no-batteries-required, no smartphone-needed, get-outside-and-have-fun family activity. These kids helped us the first year when they were only 3 and 5 years old . . . and they ended up giving each of their teachers a quart of homemade pure maple syrup. And last year, they called us to see if they could help. Give it a try — we know you’ll love it!
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