Syrup from different maple tree species

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Pollo Caballo
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Syrup from different maple tree species

Post by Pollo Caballo » Sat Mar 05, 2016 4:05 pm

Well I was a little late getting my taps in last weekend while it was nice (both main and backup hand drill batteries had run out of juice so had to charge them over Saturday night). I did manage to get 7 trees tapped by Sunday afternoon and got about 15 liters of sap by Monday which I boiled down yesterday for a decent cup and three quarters of yummy syrup. This year I tapped 5 sugar maples, one red maple, and one silver maple and due to such a small amount of sap I combined all for boiling down. Does anyone here tap reds or silvers and boil their sap separately and if so does the finished syrup taste different than sugar maple syrup and what does it taste like? I only have a small number of maples large enough for tapping that are easy to access (i.e. on my lane way) so after checking on book and internet sources to assure myself that red and silver maples could be successfully tapped I added them to my route. I realize that they should have a different ( lesser) sugar content in their sap and will take more sap to boil down to the equivalent amount of suger maple syrup but I am fine with that..it is the taste I am most interested in. I did find this batch lighter in color and lighter in the "maple" taste than both the batches I did last year but still tasty . I often find a difference in taste and color of any maple syrup I have ever sampled as I know that regionality and time of tapping i.e. Early season vs late season affects sugar content in the sap but I never really thought about the taste difference amongst the various maples before.
So this year I want to experiment a bit. I am hoping to collect and store the saps from mr red and mr silver separately and boil separately. This of course once my trees start running again...hopefully tomorrow if the weatherman is right!
I know some people have boiled sap from birch...who has done other maples and what was the result?

Best Answer by JimW » Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:03 pm
Yes Silver Maples less sugar contain so have to boil off more water. I know a couple in the Mattawa area that make some maple syrup for personal use and their trees are pretty much all red maples, I have a bit of their Red Maple syrup and it does taste slightly different than my syrup made from sugar maples. Personally I think the slight difference in taste is more a factor of different location/soil composition though not tree species.

I have had birch syrup from Thunder Bay area numerous times, very different than maple syrup and expensive $100 plus per litre.

A couple winters ago I tapped a few black walnut trees since I read your could maple syrup from their sap, did not end up with much sap only made about 500 mL of syrup, tastes okay sweet with a nutty flavor. too many things on the go this year, I may try and make more walnut syrup next year.

JimW

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WLLady
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Syrup from different maple tree species

Post by WLLady » Sat Mar 05, 2016 4:15 pm

Silver maples give much less volume than sugar maples...my friend was hard pressed to get enough sap to even boil last year....
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Syrup from different maple tree species

Post by JimW » Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:03 pm

Yes Silver Maples less sugar contain so have to boil off more water. I know a couple in the Mattawa area that make some maple syrup for personal use and their trees are pretty much all red maples, I have a bit of their Red Maple syrup and it does taste slightly different than my syrup made from sugar maples. Personally I think the slight difference in taste is more a factor of different location/soil composition though not tree species.

I have had birch syrup from Thunder Bay area numerous times, very different than maple syrup and expensive $100 plus per litre.

A couple winters ago I tapped a few black walnut trees since I read your could maple syrup from their sap, did not end up with much sap only made about 500 mL of syrup, tastes okay sweet with a nutty flavor. too many things on the go this year, I may try and make more walnut syrup next year.

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Syrup from different maple tree species

Post by Pollo Caballo » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:17 am

Hey thanks for the input WLL and JimW. I did get a fair bit of sap from the silver last Sunday but I did not notice whether it was significantly less than the suger maples. I should try to document how much sap I get from each individual tree this year if I can get that organized . Of the four sugar maples I had taped last year I did have a clear out performer and it was the largest tree. This year I added an ancient sugar maple with a two foot diameter at waist height. I am thinking that I will hang a second bucket on it today as it did give me the most sap last weekend and I know that it should support multiple buckets according to our local sugar shack.
That is interesting about the walnut syrup. I don't think I can identify if I have any walnut trees on site in the winter but I may try to take note next summer. I did a walk around my place to see if I had enough birch trees even to try them but I do not have enough mature ones to make that even worth the attempt.
I guess this winter my experiment will be "sugar" vs "red" vs "silver" maple syrup if I can collect enough sap from the two latter maples.
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Syrup from different maple tree species

Post by JP* » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:38 am

Black Walnut are fairly distinctive in the Winter. If you did want to try tapping them take a reference picture or book with you in the bush. Any excuse to be in the bush is a good excuse ;)

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Syrup from different maple tree species

Post by JimW » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:01 am

Pollo,

Good luck with your sugar vs red vs silver experiment. What I would recommend to further your experiment is to buy a sap hyrdometer, I think they are around $20-30, but not sure I bought my 7-8 years ago. That way you could measure and compare the sugar content of the sap between the the different species.

For birch you definitely need a decent amount of trees as the sap is usually 0.5 to 1.0% sugar, so the sap to syrup ratio is round 100 to 1.

The 30 or so sugar maple taps I put up usually average around 3% sugar content, so my ratio is usually around 30 to 1 or a little better.
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Syrup from different maple tree species

Post by WLLady » Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:52 am

Our sugar maples here on a good day run between 5 and 5.5% sugar. My friends silver never broke 1.5%....normally our sugars are closer to 2.7-4% range....we tapped one of those old trees one year and the bark was so thick we ended up almost burying the spile to get to sap wood. It ran amazing....we had 3 taps on a humungo tree...only the south side ran really well interestingly. It was good...lol lee valley sells a nice brix refractometer that i havent managed to break yet (not for lack of trying lol)

I have other friends up north that did birch...60:1 was their ratio. It was qite good a little lighyer than maple flavour wise but sweet....Alas i will not be trying walnut as mine as split from being hit by lightning and i have this pesky nut allergy thing...not sure i want to tempt fate. Lol
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Syrup from different maple tree species

Post by Bakers Backyard » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:25 pm

I tap my 9 mature silver maples each year and have 18 taps total on them, as well as an additional 34 taps on sugar maples. The sugar maples always start to run earlier than the silvers, they produce more sap per tap each year, and sugar content is always higher. I think I just keep tapping the silvers since they are in my front yard, they were the first trees I ever made syrup from, and I like to look out the window and see the buckets hanging. My wife prefers the taste of pure silver maple syrup as I have to agree with her, it's not a sweet tasting. Usually I'll blend it with sugar maple sap and you wouldn't know I did.
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Syrup from different maple tree species

Post by Pollo Caballo » Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:45 pm

That is interesting about the silver maples. I just have the one that is tapped. It has not been producing as much sap as most of the other maples but it was running pretty good today. I had also ended up tapping a large Norway maple on my lane way and it was producing a fair bit of sap for a couple days before it became too warm so I just did a small batch of that syrup 2 days ago. I got 200 ml of finished syrup from 6.5 liters of sap so that would make it about a 32.5 to 1 ratio of sap to syrup. I found that syrup lighter in color and flavor than my mixed maple syrup from Last weeks boil. Still very good but much less of the typical more caramelized "maple" flavor and one of my daughters thought she preferred it to traditional sugar maple syrup. I plan to boil my silver maple sap tomorrow and then plan to do the batch of red maple the next day. Also have to get a batch of (mostly) sugar maple sap boiled tomorrow. Going to be a busy day!
I will take photos of the various bottles of finished syrup to post once I have finished my "experiment".
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Syrup from different maple tree species

Post by JimW » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:20 am

Cool findings.

Decent sap to syrup ratio from your Norway maple. My sugar maples this year are running 27 to 1.
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