How Maple Syrup is Made
The basic process of maple sugaring has stayed the same since the beginning. The Native Americans would strike an ax into the tree and place a vessel at the base to collect the sap. They boiled the sap in kettles over a wood fire to remove the excess water. After hours of boiling the sap would become a sweet maple syrup.
1800’s till the 1960’s
In the 1800s, farmers would drill a 7/16″ hole into the maple tree, hammer a spout into the tree, then hang a bucket on the tree. A team of workers would travel the woods collecting sap and filling a collection tank. The full collection tank was pulled by horses to the sugar house where the sap was unloaded. The sap would flow into the evaporator where it was boiled over a wood fire. The sap was boiled until it reached 67% sugar then be filtered and barreled.
The modern way of maple sugaring still carries the same principle of gathering sap and boiling till syrup. A system of plastic tubing is hung throughout the sugarbush to carry the sap to the sugar bush. A 5/16″ hole is drilled into the maple tree and a spout is lightly hammered into the tree. The spout is connected to 5/16″ tubing and a lateral line. The lateral line connects to a mainline that is anywhere from 1/2″ to 2″. The sap travels through the system of tubes to the sugarhouse where is filtered and stored in stainless tanks.
The sap is then filtered again before going through the reverse osmosis (RO) machine. The RO removes 90% of the water and concentrates the sap from 2% to 15%. This concentrated sap travels to the flue pan on the back of the evaporator where it is boiled. When the concentrated sap leaves the flue pan it is 25% sugar content. The sap travels to the front pan where is boiled over a wood fire. The sap turns into syrup at 67% sugar and is then drawn off and filtered through a press. The syrup then is poured into barrels for storage.