Things we’ve learned about maple syruping. First, you get less sap from a tree if you use the same taps each year (cuts the sap by 50%). Some say you can soak the metal ones (which we’ve decided we prefer) in alcohol for twelve hours and you’ll get half the sap back. If you have access to ultrasonic cleaners you can give that a try as well. The reason for the loss of sap is a bacterial build-up that closes the sap wound of the tree before you get all the sap so you need really clean tools or you can just settle for less.
The sap flow was minimal this year because of the weather–either frigid day and night or too hot (lately). You need warm days and cold nights for good sap flow. We had about a week of that. I can’t complain since we still will have 5 or six gallons of syrup.
Our new evaporator worked fantastically well thanks to my talented husband even if the mud from melting snow made things a little slippery. We saved a lot of punky wood in the garage from last year and it burned nice and hot. We only had one night when we had to stay up late, boiling in the dark.
We tried an old-timer’s trick. When you filter the sap there’s a sludge to it and in past years we never fully managed to get rid of it but someone told my husband to scramble some eggs in a bowl and in the final boiling process (when you’re trying to bring the sap up to 7 degrees above boiling) you throw the eggs in and stir. The minerals and other stuff cling to the cooking eggs and make for a cleaner syrup! (the dogs love the eggs) Anyway, it really worked!
By the way, we use a turkey fryer for the final boil.