Home Brewed Maple Syrup


As soon as Chicago winter started showing some mercy in late February with sporadic, slightly above zero temperatures days, Stephanie (my wife) started tapping our only two silver maple trees – on in the front yard the other in the backyard which she actually planted when she was 5!!

It was maple syrup harvest time in the Midwest.

User Serviceable Inside (no tools required)

Even if there are elaborate tools available for tapping maple trees to extract sap (see video below), in truth all you need is a some sort of a tube (plastic) of approximately 1/4″diameter and 6-7″ long, – or if you want to go organic, elderberry twig with the center drilled out.

Then you drill a hole at a slight vertical angle of the same diameter as the exterior of the tube, and insert the tube so you can form a spout where the sap will run into a bucket secured with a string around the tree trunk. Make a little aluminum foil tent above the bucket so it’ll be protected from possible rain or other things falling in.

There were some very productive days and some not. The productive days were the ones when the temperature dropped below freezing during the night but it elevated above during the day to about 40 to 45 degrees. Overall I think she was able to part with a total of 10 gallons or so out of our two maple trees.

The procedure from here is easy. Basically boil the sap down to maple syrup. She would freeze the sap in plastic milk jugs and then just cut them open one by one when she was ready to boil. We didn’t have a big enough pot to do all 10 gallons at once, so we used our 10 quart broth pot.

A Drop In The Bucket – Literally

There is a 40:1 ratio to make maple syrup. In other words it takes 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup. If you have a forest around you, that’s not a problem, but if you live in Chicago North-West suburbs like we do with only two maple trees in your yard, than you must be happy with only a small jar like the one in the picture. But boy – that’s the real thing!

I wonder what the city will say if I would go an tap every maple tree in our neighborhood? Hmm… Maybe next year!

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10 thoughts on “Home Brewed Maple Syrup”

  • They collect their sap in bags…..I had never seen that before! We always used pails here in NNY! Maybe it has changed some since the day’s my dad used to collect sap.

  • Hi Gabi 🙂

    You’re welcome back, too 🙂 A lovely coming back with something home-made, and “wife-made” 🙂

    Thanks for your visit, and good wishes…
    All precious…

    Thank you…

    PS. By the way, is the English translation of the Romanian song correct?

  • Wow!! I didn’t even know you could make maple syrup at home!! Always coming up with new ideas…

    BTW, your twitter “follow me” doesn’t work, it doesn’t send to your own twitter page… 🙂


  • Great post! Once you try real maple syrup, you can never go back to Mrs. Butterworth’s, Log Cabin, etc.

    I got spoiled when we lived in Western NY State because our neighbors used to make their own and share some with us.

  • HoneyB: Same here – that’s how I know it too – in Pails. Probably easier to store? But he mentions squirrels like to chew on them. Hmm..

    Bal: Good to see YOU back after all you went through!! Thanks for the comment. The song translation is excellent! And excellent notes at the bottom specifying some of the meanings.
    And hey exciting day on May 10th!!! My anticipated congrats!!

    Vanessa: Thanks for the comment! Yep – very easy! And fun! I bet impossible in San Francisco 🙂 See you have good Sourdough, we have good Maple Syrup! Thanks also for the tip on my Twitter link. Fixed now…

    Jessie: Thanks for the comment. Now if I could pair the maple syrup with some of your Buttermilk Pancakes!!!

  • Gabi!!!! Great post! We know a thing or two about maple syrup up here in Canada too. 🙂 Good to see you pioneering and tapping the two trees. Perhaps next year, you really ought to try tapping the rest of the trees in your neighbourhood. What can the city say? You won’t be harming the trees… Anyway, this one put a smile on my face. Good one!

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