Making maple syrup at home

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HILLSDALE, N.Y. (NEWS10)–The time is close upon us, maple syrup making season. When it’s below freezing at night and warm during the day that means the sap is flowing.

With cold night and warm days the sap pressure builds in the trees, making it time to start tapping.

Late winter and early spring mean the buckets and lines for collecting sap need to be cleaned. Some have already starts like George Beneke, a retired veterinarian in Hillsdale, N.Y.

George Beneke already has his lines run and collecting sap.

Beneke started collecting sap in early January. So far he has made over 20 gallons with the help of his home built reverse osmosis system. That systems cuts his boil time by almost half and reduces the amount of wood he uses.

A cord of wood will make over 20 gallons of syrup with Beneke’s setup.
This evaporator can process 20 gallons of sap an hour.

Beneke says you don’t need a sophisticated systems like his. All you need is a turkey fryer, a large stainless steel pot, and about $30 worth of supplies you can get off the internet or a farm supply store.

George Beneke points out a 90 year-old sugar maple tree that he uses to make his syrup. Beneke says you can use any kind of maple tree but sugar maples are the best.

Using a turkey fryer, Beneke says, you can process five gallons of sap in about three hours. That’s enough to make 12 oz. of maple syrup.

The key, the retired veterinarian says is to start with a gallon of sap and to slowly add more. He says to keep the sap at a roiling boil until the water is nearly gone. Beneke says that you should be left with about half syrup and half water when you are done.

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