In this video, Ask This Old House landscape designer Jenn Nawada heads to Vermont to learn about making maple syrup commercially and at home.
1. Find a maple tree that has grown to an appropriate size. No smaller than 10 inches in diameter for one tap, 18 inches for two taps.
2. Using a drill and 5/16-inch drill bit, drill into the tree about 1½ inch deep at an angle so that the sap can flow out.
3. Take the hookless aluminum spout and tap it into the new hole until it’s secure.
4. Place the aluminum bucket onto the spout.
5. Place the aluminum bucket lid on top to keep out animals, rain, and snow.
6. When the sap is at its peak flow, empty the buckets once or twice a day.
7. When all the sap is collected, transfer it to your pot and boil it.
8. Put some of the syrup into a cup to test it using the hydrometer.
9. Immerse the thermometer into the test cup until it reaches the hot marking on the hydrometer.
10. Measurements may vary when using a hydrometer, so check instructions for your specific hydrometer.
11. Pour syrup through a filter (like a coffee filter) to get rid of niter (sediment) and collect it in a different pot or pan.
12. Pour syrup into a bottle and it is ready to use.