The coming of warmer weather and spring correlates with another marvelous season- maple syrup season!
Clear sap dripping into a bucket is not what most people would think of as appetizing. Yet, many of us eat it multiple times a year in the form of maple syrup.
Sugar Maple trees are tapped in late winter to early spring to collect their sap. Temperatures have to be above freezing in the day and below freezing during the night to cause the ideal pressure for the sap to flow.
If precautions are taken, tapping a tree will not harm it. Different states have different size regulations. But, a tree should be 12 inches in diameter or more to be tapped. Larger trees can be tapped in up to 3 different places depending on the size. A tree can heal the hole where it was tapped in one to three years.
Since the sap has to be boiled down to create the thick, sweet substance we know as maple syrup, you have to start out with a lot more sap than the desired amount of syrup you want to make. Generally it takes 40 gallons of sap to make a single gallon of syrup and each season a tree with a single tap produces 5-15 gallons of syrup. These statistics definitely make me want to take it easy on the syrup next time I have pancakes.
Because of the reasons stated above, maple syrup can be very expensive, but some people are getting away without spending a penny. Sap thieves tap trees on private property and make their own syrup with it. It has been a big problem in Maine which is one of the country's largest producers of maple syrup. Sadly, some of these thieves are causing more problems than illegal harvesting; they are damaging the sugar maple trees by drilling too big of holes in too many places.
Thankfully there are many people that tap their trees with care and value them for more than just the price of their sap. Some of these people are those that work for the forest preserves and nature centers. They not only tap the trees so that they continue to grow in a healthy state, they teach people how maple syrup is collected, made, and inspire the younger generations.
If you have ever been to a maple syrup festival you know that it can be a very enjoyable event. There is nothing quite like watching maple syrup being made from the trees that surround you. Why not experience one this year?
Maple Syrup Festivals Happening Soon
The annual Maple Syrup Festival at the River Trail Nature Center is on March 20th
Here is the link: http://fpdcc.com/event/44th-annual-maple-syrup-festival/
The annual Maple Syrup Festival at the North Park Village Nature Center is on March 19th-20th Here is a link to their list of events: