Sweet Time of the Year

There is nothing like warm, pure maple syrup slathered on steaming, hot pancakes. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, pancakes with maple syrup is a favorite.

Maple syrup is produced in only nine states. Vermont leads the nation producing maple syrup. They make over two million gallons of syrup a year. That sounds like a lot. And it is. But it takes over 80 million gallons a maple sap to produce that amount.


All maple trees make maple syrup. The sugar maple has the highest concentration of sugar in its sap. We have gotten a lot of syrup from our silver maples. These trees will yield one gallon of syrup for every 40 gallons of sap. Black and red maples as well as box elders can be used. These trees have a lower amount of sugar in their sap. It could take of up 60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.


Late winter is maple syrup time. The temperature during the day needs to be in the 40s. The nights need to fall below freezing. The season is over when the night temperature stays about freezing. When buds appear on the tree, the sap does not flow.

To extract the sap from a tree, a hole is drilled into the tree. The hole should angle downward and be about 3” deep. A spile is inserted and tapped into place. A bucket or bag is hung from the spile to collect the sap. The size of the tree determines the number of taps. We do not tap trees that are less than 10” in diameter.

The boil

We collect the sap daily. And store in a cool area. Most people wait until they collect at least 10 gallons of sap. This sap is boiled until all the water has evaporated. The sap boils in a large, square pan on a wood-burning stove. We like to move the syrup into a large, round pot and finish it in the house. The sap needs to reach 2190 to become syrup. We use a refractor and stop when the syrup reaches 68-70 Brix. The Brix indicates the sugar content of a liquid.


We filter the syrup before bottling it. This removes any debris that might be in the syrup. Syrup bottles are available from several online stores. We prefer to use pint canning jars.

Keep the syrup in a cool place. Then enjoy!

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef, chicken, pork, and eggs, is in Davisburg, Michigan. Check out our website to discover all our products and services.