My brother Ben decided that he wanted to try something special this year. He wanted to make his own maple syrup!
Maple syrup actually is made out of the sap inside maple trees. Sap is like a tree’s blood, but don’t worry- it isn’t at all like animal blood. So here is what we did: (Note: some of this is not interesting unless you actually want to make syrup, so I won’t be offended if you skip most of it. 😉 )
We drilled a hole in a maple tree (this is a good place for maple tree ID) with a 5/16″ drill bit, and stuck one end of some plastic pipe which was slightly smaller than the hole into it. We put some putty around the pipe so that most of the sap would go into the pipe instead of on the ground. Then, we drilled a hole in the cap of a gallon water bottle and put the other end of the pipe into it so that the sap would drip into the bottle through the pipe.
We left the bottle there for a few days, collecting the sap every evening. The sap is mostly water, so it looked clear. It’s hard to believe that it can be made into maple syrup!
After we had enough sap, we needed to get most of that water out of the sap and leave the syrup! The way to do that is to boil it. The water turns into steam and leaves the sap.
(Note: Don’t boil the sap inside if you have more than a few gallons! We only had three, so that was OK, but remember that all the steam is going into the air inside your house!)
Here is the sap in the pot:
I also have some very short videos of it boiling down, but I can only give them to you to download since I can’t insert them into the post.
The sap boiled lower and lower as time went on. Eventually we had to move it to a smaller pot! And, out of those almost three gallons of sap, here is how much syrup we got:
Only a cupful! There is so much water in the sap that once it’s gone, there is only a little syrup. But what is syrup without…
Pancakes! (And some pasta, since it was, after all, suppertime.)
So, that’s the story of how maple syrup came from a tree to some pancakes!
Make some syrup and I’ll post again next week!