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Old 09-22-2008, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
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Default Cooking down your own maple syrup

I was wondering the other day why no one seems to make maple syrup in the south eastern states. We have sugar maple trees all over Tennessee and I see many in North, South Carolina and Georgia but no ones tapping them I'm aware of. I buy some when I'm visiting up north but was wondering if there is a reason why I couldn't tap the trees around me and cook it down myself.
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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Trees have to be mature before they can be tapped, about 40 years old and need to have reached a diameter of 25 cm at chest height before they can be tapped without damaging the tree. It takes about 40 liters of sap to make a single liter of syrup. A mature tree can produce about 40 liters over a 4 to 6 week period. There's the rub.

A big part of successful maple syrup production is climate. In order to avoid getting syrup with odd flavors, the tree has to be tapped at a certain time of year when the days are warm and the nights are below freezing. Not sure there is enough fluxuation in temperature for a long enough period in those states to make it practical. If your window for collecting sap is shorter you are going to need a whole forest of trees to make the process practical; and there would be no guarantee that the syrup would be a high enough grade for consumption.
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Maple Lake, MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MICoastieMom View Post
Trees have to be mature before they can be tapped, about 40 years old and need to have reached a diameter of 25 cm at chest height before they can be tapped without damaging the tree. It takes about 40 liters of sap to make a single liter of syrup. A mature tree can produce about 40 liters over a 4 to 6 week period. There's the rub.

A big part of successful maple syrup production is climate. In order to avoid getting syrup with odd flavors, the tree has to be tapped at a certain time of year when the days are warm and the nights are below freezing. Not sure there is enough fluxuation in temperature for a long enough period in those states to make it practical. If your window for collecting sap is shorter you are going to need a whole forest of trees to make the process practical; and there would be no guarantee that the syrup would be a high enough grade for consumption.
On top of all this to explain needing the forest, if you have (may have forgotten, but close) 5 gallons of sap, when boiled down after hours, you might have a quart or two of syrup, and if you lose it - syrup crystals or rocks....The end result is way, way less than what you started out with
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Old 11-17-2008, 11:54 AM
 
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just to let you know, I sucessfully made 3 gallons of syrup from east tn trees this year. I started late because I was going on the northern season but we should start last of jan-mar. Tap as many trees as you can and get them collected the next day. Some days I had to collect them within a few hours. It takes all night to boil this stuff down but it is GOOOOODDD.
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:29 PM
 
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What does it taste like strait from the tree? I always wondered that...
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Durham
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Originally Posted by pitt_transplant View Post
What does it taste like strait from the tree? I always wondered that...

Take an 8 ounch glass of room temperature water. Put in a teaspoon of maple syrup. Stir and enjoy.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:51 PM
 
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No that wont work the water changes everything. I am talking a finger lick strait from the tap with the filtered tree water included. Did you compare the two?..the maple syrup challenge...lol?
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Old 11-17-2008, 02:16 PM
 
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Actually, that is a pretty fair description of maple straight from the tree. Why else do you think the Native Americans started cooking with it? They use the sap to sweeten cooked puddings and the like.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:44 PM
 
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I live in the greater Nashville TN area and this is my 2nd season of trying my hand at maple syrup production. So far I have made about 3 quarts this season. I made about 6 quarts last year. I have not been able to acheive that deep maple flavor that you find from the stuff up north but the syrup is still very good and we use it exclusively until we run out. Sap directly from the tree basically just tastes like pure drinking water with a slight sweetness.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rcm58 View Post
I was wondering the other day why no one seems to make maple syrup in the south eastern states. We have sugar maple trees all over Tennessee and I see many in North, South Carolina and Georgia but no ones tapping them I'm aware of. I buy some when I'm visiting up north but was wondering if there is a reason why I couldn't tap the trees around me and cook it down myself.
Our family operation makes about 200 gallons a year in North Central Ohio. And I will argue with you that you cannot make maple syrup COMMERCIALLY (in decent quantities) much further south. My wife's cousins make over 2000 gallons but they have a very serious investment in equipment (and evaporate using gas).

In order to have a significant sap run, you really need to have a hard freeze at night (~20F) and a warm day (>40F). You are generally not going to find that in Tennessee or south.

By the way, even in Northern Ohio, the maple syrup season is a crapshoot. Last year, the season lasted two weeks or so as the weather warmed up early. We have had a season of seven weeks in the past.

Ohio is NOT a great place to make syrup. The largest operations are in Quebec, Ontario and New England, roughly in that order.

One more thing. The season is over as soon as the tree buds in the Spring. If you continue to boil sap after that point, the syrup has a very bitter aftertaste.

Hope that helps.
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