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Maple Sugaring Supplies - Supplies You Need For Making Maple Syrup

Equipment and Supply List for Making Your Own Maple Syrup

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Ready to tap some trees? First you need to gather supplies. Most of these supplies can be found used, or items you already have (like plastic milk jugs) can be used.

  • A drill. Essential for actually tapping the trees. Either a hand drill or a portable battery-operated electric drill will work. The bit size must match the spout size used. 7/16-inch is for traditional spouts, 5/16-inch for small diameter spouts - but always check the spout size you have.

  • Spiles. Spiles are the collecting spouts that are put in each taphole in the tree. They can be plastic or metal. There are different kinds, so you'll want to make sure the spiles you purchase can be used for buckets or bags, rather than the kind used for plastic tubing (except if you want to use plastic tubing!). You can make your own spiles from various materials, but be sure that whatever you use is food-grade. Traditionally, spiles were made from elderberry stems, which are easily hollowed out.

  • Collecting containers. You're going to need something to catch the sap! A collecting container is usually a bucket - you can buy metal ones with lids - but it can also be a special sap bag, or it can be a plastic milk jug, plastic food-grade bucket, or anything you can think of or find that is food-grade, safe, and covered. A lid prevents insects, rain, and other debris from falling into the sap.

  • A storage tank. While not absolutely necessary for the smallest hobby sugaring setups, a storage tank of some kind can help if you're collecting a good bit of sap at a time.

  • An evaporating pan. This doesn't have to be fancy or specific to maple sugaring. A large stainless steel lasagna pan like those used in restaurants works great. The key is for the pan to be at least 6 inches, and preferably 8 inches, deep, to prevent boiling over.

  • A heat source. You're going to need something to heat the sap to boiling and allow the steam to release, leaving you with syrup. While the steam boils off, the air becomes very humid and surfaces can become sticky with bits of sap or syrup that cling to the steam particles. While some folks manage just fine boiling sap in their house with fans going and windows open, others far prefer to have an outdoor setup for boiling sap.

  • A thermometer. You'll need a reliable, calibrated thermometer that will read up to 230 degrees F. A candy thermometer often works for this.

  • A hydrometer and hydrometer cup. Not absolutely necessary, but not expensive. These will allow you to measure the syrup density. Syrup that's not dense enough will be too thin and may spoil prematurely. If the syrup is too dense, it may form sugar crystals during storage.

  • Filter. This is one of those maple-sugaring specific supplies - you can't substitute coffee filters. Purchase a good-quality filter from a maple sugaring equipment supplier.

  • Storage containers for finished syrup. You can repurpose something, as long as it's clean and food grade, or purchase containers from a maple sugaring equipment supplier. The key components of a container are that it has an airtight seal and can handle having 185 degree F syrup poured into it.

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