What you need to start
First, you will need to obtain a sap spout from either a local farm supply store, or a sugaring supply company such as Leader Evaporator Company a sap bucket (also available at your farm or sugaring supply store), and some kind of cover to keep the rain and snow out.
Next, select a maple tree that is at least 14 inches in diameter (which would make it at least 40 years old). Drill a hole with a 7/16 drill about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep…at about waist high. Hammer your spout into the tree and either attach a
sap bucket or a plastic bucket. .Put only one tap per tree.
Sugaring season begins around mid-February and goes until March and early April (depending on where in New England you live and how early the spring thaw arrives.)
How do you know when its time to tap? Check the outdoor temperature during the day and at night: If its gets 40 to 50 degrees F during the day and somewhat
below freezing at night, you can bet the sap is flowing. This combination temperatures during the day and night pushes the sap up from the roots into the trunk and branches, where it freezes, and then the next day as it warms up, it drips out your spout.
How much sap do you need? It takes 40- 50 gallons of sap to make a gallon of maple syrup, so you might expect in 4 to 6 weeks to get 40 quarts of sap from a tree which would make one quart of syrup, this is why it is recommended to take advantage of several trees at once . Sap looks like water and is about 2% natural maple sugar.
Directions for making sap into syrup
Collect the sap from your bucket every day the sap drips (some days may be too cold or too warm and you won’t get much of anything) and try to boil it within 24 hours. Since you are evaporating most of the water, you will be producing lots of steam so back yard boiling works best on a gas grill. As the water is evaporated, the sap gets thicker and starts to look golden brown.
When the boiling is getting near done, and reaches 212 degrees F. the syrup will double in volume so be sure to have a large enough kettle to handle this expansion. When your product is near syrup, it might be best to take it inside and finish cooking it on your stove (be sure to have the exhaust fan going or you may loosen your wall paper with all the steam).
Maple syrup is cooked enough when its 219 degrees F. so a candy thermometer is critical. Overcooking will result in burning of the syrup and the pan. Maple syrup needs to be refrigerated once it’s done, and will keep for a couple years in
a glass jar. After all your hard work, pure maple syrup never tasted better.