How To Make Maple Syrup | The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Sick of buying expensive maple syrup at the store and wondering how to make maple syrup? Well, wonder no longer! Your homemade maple syrup is ready and waiting for you to learn how to master. When we first started tapping our maple trees, I was really intimidated by the process, but after some trial and error and lots of research, I’m happy to say it’s something I look forward to every year. 
 
Maple sugaring has been around since before the pilgrims arrived on the shores of the new world in 1620, the native American tribes were already turning the sap into sugar. A century later maple syrup came around to grace our pancakes and anything else we can think of. 
 
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How Do You Make Maple Syrup

 
Homemade maple syrup is delicious and so much cheaper than buying a bottle of the precious amber liquid. The process of making it from scratch is a bit long, but it’s so worth it! In this article, we are going to teach you everything you need to know about how to make maple syrup, before we get started you may want to check our article on how to tap maple trees
 
 

Is Homemade Maple Syrup Safe?

 

Yes, homemade maple syrup is perfectly safe, especially if you can the syrup when it is finished. Canning can keep your maple syrup good indefinitely.

 

What You Need To Make Homemade Maple Syrup

 

The first step when it comes to how to make maple syrup from scratch is gathering your supplies and ingredients:

  • Large pans
  • Spoon
  • Maple Sap
  • Tea Towel or Coffee Filter
  • Candy Thermometer 

 

How Much Maple Sap Does It Take To Make A Gallon of Maple Syrup?

 

It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup, this can vary quite a bit from 20-60 gallons of sap. It really depends on the sugar content of the sap you are working with. A large amount of water must be boiled out of the sap for it to reach the 66 to 67 percent sugar finished maple syrup. 

 

Do You Add Sugar To Make Maple Syrup?

 

No, pure maple syrup has only one ingredient. There are lots of recipes around the web that calls for boiling sugar, but quality maple syrup will not have anything but maple sap in it. 

 

Homemade Maple Syrup

 

The maple sap starts degrading as soon as it leaves the tree so you want to keep it cold and process it as soon as possible. If you can’t process it immediately it can be store in your refrigerator until you are ready to boil it down into syrup. 

 

straining maple sap
 
 

How To Make Maple Syrup: Straining Maple Sap

 
The first step in how to make maple syrup is to strain the sap, we used the same method as when we make cheese. A fine-grain colander with a clean pillow slip (never used before). This way worked really well for us. You can also strain it through coffee filters.
 
From here there are two methods we use to boil maple sap:

 

How To Make Maple Syrup Method #1:

 

We used cinderblocks to hold up the grate from our grill and placed a bonfire beneath it. Once we had the fire going we added pans filled with syrup. Keep the fire going until the sap has reduced into syrup.

 

Fill your pans with 2 inches, of sap. Continue to add sap to the pans to maintain the level of sap. Keep the maple sap boiling at a temperature of between 212°F and 218°F.

 

Make sure you keep an eye on your boiling maple sap so no bugs or ash fall in, the ash will make the syrup taste smoky. If you notice a bit of ash remove it with a spoon. This method of boiling maple sap should take between 5 and 12 hours depending on the sugar content of the maple sap.

 

Tips For How To Make Maple Syrup:  

 

  • Use long but shallow pans so that you have a wider surface for the water to evaporate off of, and it won’t take as much heat to get it boiling. 
  • Keep the heat high.
  • Before you heat your pan fill it with maple sap, about 2 inches deep.
  • Make sure you check on it often, you don’t want to scorch or burn the pan.
  • Make sure your fire is easily accessible so you can keep it going.
  • Start the process of boiling your sap as early in the day as you can, that way you have as much light as possible. 
  • Don’t stir the sap while boiling it.
  • Keep adding sap to maintain the sap level in the pan and keep it at a boiling temperature of between 212°F and 218°F.
  • While boiling the maple sap, a foam may develop. You can use a “defoamer” to reduce the foam. Only use a commercial defoamer or 1-2 drops of vegetable/canola oil. 
  • As your sap boils down you may need to transfer it into a smaller boiling pan to keep the 2 inches of liquid level. 

 

How To Make Maple Syrup Method #2: Inside

 

Boiling maple sap inside is done pretty much the way outside is, only without the fire. Pour your maple sap into a shallow pan roasting pan about 2 inches deep. Turn on the heat to high and keep an eye on it as it reduces and boils out the water. 
 
As you boil the sap down the color will begin to change, becoming a beautiful amber color and resembling maple syrup. 
 
Starting to boil maple sap
maple sap begining to boil
Maple sap reducing
 
 

How To Make Maple Syrup: Finishing Your Syrup

 

Once the Maple sap has reduced into delicious homemade maple syrup, you’ve reached the final step in how to make maple syrup.

 

To finish your homemade maple syrup, stop adding more sap and watch the boiling temperature closely. In order to make maple syrup, the sap must boil at a temperature of 7.5°F above the boiling temperature of water or about 219°F. It’s very hard to finish your maple syrup off in a large shallow pan on an open fire so now is a good time to remove it to a smaller pot or pan. The concentrated maple sap should be at a boiling temperature of around 217°F to 218°F on a controlled heat source like a stove. 

 

Once your maple syrup has reached a boiling temperature 7.5°F above the boiling temperature of water (about 219°F), the syrup is finished. Turn off the stove, remove the pan from the heat, and cover to cool. This will prevent the escape of more water, and keep your homemade maple syrup at the right consistency. 

 

Strain your syrup once more to remove any sugar sand or other debris that may be in your sap from the boiling process. Wool felt/orlon filters can be used, but they do absorb a lot of syrup so if you are only working with a small amount of syrup try siphoning it instead. Allow the syrup to settle and the sugar sand and any debris will settle to the bottom. Siphon the top portion of the syrup out of the container to anothe, leaving behind the little bit at the bottom with the debris. While you are siphoning make sure your siphon dows not touch the debris at the bottom to prevent them from transferring from the original container. 

 

 

Storing Homemade Maple Syrup

 

To store your homemade maple syrup it must be packed hot (185°F to 190°F). The refiltered syrup will need to be reheated to over 195°F. Use new clean containers to hold your homemade maple syrup. Fill your bottle or jar with syrup and put the lid on immediately. Place the container up-side-down to seal, then on its side to cool. Store in a cool dry place. You can also freeze your homemade maple syrup for longer storage. Maple syrup that is not hot packed can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer. 

 

Do You Need To Refrigerate Homemade Maple Syrup?

 

Maple syrup does not really need to be refrigerated. However, refrigerating maple syrup will retard the growth of mold. It’s best to keep it in a refrigerator or cool place while storing it.

 
Did we answer all of your how to make maple syrup questions? If not drop them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them! Now for some homemade pancakes!
 
 
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