Maple Syrup Tapping

This week we attended a class through a local college that was all about how real maple syrup is made.

First they led us to the place where they are actually making the maple syrup.

They explained how they do not add any ingredients into their syrup-no added sugar, no added dyes.  Then they read to us the ingredients of a syrup bought from the store…there was no mention of maple sap in the ingredients….it listed corn syrup, dyes, sugar, preservatives, and chemicals.  YUCK!!

We then got to taste it!!

It was so delicious!!!

Next they walked us through the woods where they actually tap the sugar maple trees. We learned how to identify sugar maples, how to tap the trees, and tons of other information along the way.

A few things that we learned:

One way to identify a sugar maple tree is by its bark.  It has what they call a peanut butter bark-meaning it looks like peanut butter has been smeared on the trunk.  One little boy took this literally as I saw him licking the tree!!!!  LOL

It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup!!

Tapping a tree does not hurt the tree, nor is it taking away its food.  Since the tapping is done in the spring it is using the leftover sugar from the fall and mixing it with the water from the snow melting and rain.  Together this forms the sap which is then boiled down into a concentrated form.

Sap is made up of 2-3% of sugar and the rest is water.

The college that offers this class has volunteers go out with guides to tap the trees, then collect the sap, and once the maple syrup is made and bottled they offer a pancake breakfast to all who helped!!  They do not sell the maple syrup….I was very sad about this!!!  😦

Seeing this process has made me wish I had a few sugar maples in my yard……I will be on the lookout for any in my neighborhood for next year!!!!  What fun!!

Have you ever tasted freshly made maple syrup????

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18 thoughts on “Maple Syrup Tapping

  1. When I was little, my family stopped somewhere on vacation where we got to have fresh maple syrup. I remember my mom purchasing a ton of souvenirs like maple butters, candies, etc. I’ve always been a huge maple fan. Can you believe that maple donuts were my favorite donut flavor?

    Kids are so funny. I can understand why a child would try to lick a peanut butter tree 🙂

    • Yes, maple flavors are so good……I remember eating some kind of maple flavored candy as a kid….and while the maple donuts weren’t my fave I did LOVE them!!! Although as a kid I loved any and all donuts!! LOL

  2. This was fun to read and pleasing to look at. My husband usually taps the maples every spring. Real syrup tastes intense, as if you’re mainlining maple.

    Rawkinmom, I’ve seen the maple candy you mentioned at The Vermont Country Store. (URL:

    I was just reading a blog about real maple syrup. One of the commenters said she served it to her kids in a Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle for the nostalgia and the familiarity. (URL:

  3. Yes, REAL maple syrup is wonderful – expensive, but after you see all that has to take place to make even ONE gallon of syrup, it’s understandable.

    My grandfather used to have a “sugaring off” camp – we used to visit when it was time to gather the sap and make the syrup. This was in northern New Hampshire, not too far from the Canadian border, so there was often still snow on the ground. Our grandfather taught us how to make “snow candy” – we would scoop up a clump of clean snow, put it in a metal cup, and he would pour just a little bit of syrup over it – since it hardened quickly, not all the snow melted, and it turned into a sweet treat very similar to maple sugar candy. Yummy!

  4. Ooo, this sounds like a fun field trip!

    BTW, I am so sorry; I tried finding my husband’s receipts, and he couldn’t remember exactly…you asked about our rock pile for the kids to play in…I’m not sure exactly how many pounds of pebbles it took. He estimates around 16 bags, which are around $4 a bag. I know that we had to buy them in bags because we didn’t have access to a truck that day – so with the trim and everything, I think he spent around $100. But I think it could have been less if we had bought them in bulk, just scooped up from a nursery.


    • It was super fun!!!
      That’s okay-I just thought it was a great idea and wondered how much you would have to buy for something like that!!! Thanks for checking though!!!

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