“That’s a sugar maple, you could tap that if you wanted to.”
The guy who was walking me through tree maintenance in the yard mentioned it offhand and I filed it away in the back of my mind. A few months later, after some reading about it, I bought a tree tapping kit off Amazon that seemed easy enough to implement and kept a watch on the weather forecast to find the right day to tap the trees.
The kit had three taps and buckets, so I tapped three trees. Tree #1 is my superstar, producing the most sap and with the most sunlight during the day with the most space. Trees #2 and #3, who are known as the twins, are partially shaded and get less sun during the day. It was three days from the time I tapped it that all three buckets were pretty much full. Probably about seven gallons of sap.
I grossly underestimated how long it would take to boil that amount of sap! I was very confident with Meg that it would take a few hours on a Sunday and we’d have plenty of time to relax with dinner before I sat down to watch the All Elite Wrestling pay-per-view Revolution. I started around 2 pm and it boiled. And boiled. And boiled. And boiled. I was using a turkey frying kit that I picked up at Home Depot, which has a pretty small surface area, meaning it would take longer to boil.
Thankfully, it was a warm night and I was able to hang out outside, enjoy the night, the pay-per-view, and keep resetting the turkey fryer’s automatic safety timer every fifteen minutes. I think the boil was mostly done around 11 pm. I jarred what was left and would handle it in the morning.
In the morning I boiled down the rest from about 4 cups to about 2 cups. It filled the house with a great smell that soon became overwhelming and required all the windows to be opened. About an hour later, I had syrup!
Ultimately, it’s syrup! It’s amazing that I can just make this stuff myself! I haven’t used it yet but I spent the day walking to the fridge and dipping a finger in for a taste of it. I named it after Adam Page, the current AEW heavyweight champion, since I watched him retain his championship while it was finishing the larger boil.
I started the second boil the next day (Tuesday) but after a disaster. It was especially windy and Tree #1’s bucket was nearly full and the weight combined with the wind pulled it right off the tree. The twins produced enough to get a small batch going. I still had daylight, so I worked for about two hours outside while the boil got to a good enough place to bring it inside to finish up. A bit too chilly to really enjoy the day but I brought it inside before dinner.
I filtered the sap multiple times, probably once more than was needed but I wanted to see if I could produce something more clear than the first batch. In honor of my sap disaster, I named the second batch Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.
I still have some work to do and there are some tools that can help me get this done a bit easier than it has been, but it’s still been fun. The amount left on the second boil and the lighter color makes me think that I probably didn’t boil it enough but the taste seemed about right. To really test it, I’d need a refractometer to see the sugar content. Not sure if this batch needs another filter or not but I’m happy with this round too. I’ll need some smaller jars too if I’ll keep doing this every few days.