Wednesday, February 6, 2013

World Bird Sanctuary hosts a maple syrup cookdown!

 For the last few winters, I have tapped Sugar Maple trees at World Bird Sanctuary for their sap. I started tapping Sugar Maples in late January, in preparation for a maple syrup cookdown at World Bird Sanctuary on February 17th.

The sap is the sugary fluid which flows from trees during the warm days of winter.  There are many trees in the maple family, including the Silver Maple, Red Maple and Box Elder – but the sweetest is the Sugar Maple.
 These two Sugar Maples show how the ascending sap oozes from small cracks that may have happened during winter months, and from holes made by woodpeckers and insects.  This is why the bark is so dark on the left tree.  It is wet with sap.
 To tap a Sugar Maple, I drill a 3/4 inch deep hole about 3 feet off the ground at an upward 45 degree angle.  This does not harm the tree.
 I insert maple taps that I bough online into the holes.  These can be bought online with other supplies for sugaring.  The tap is pushed in until it plugs the hole.  After the 2 or so weeks of tapping I take the tap out of the tree and the tree heals itself.
 After inserting the maple tap I hang a can to catch the sap as it drips out.  On a good day we may get a gallon a day from one tap!
 As stated above, trees naturally leak some sap, and natural crevices in the maple tree allow the sap to puddle.  This is most likely a popular tree with the woodland creatures!
 Covers are installed above the cans to keep out rain and snow.

It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.  We are off to a great start collecting sap and will have a public maple syrup cookdown on February 17th, starting at 10am.  Please join us!

Submitted by Joe Hoffmann, Sanctuary Manager

No comments: