Tapping Trees for a Sap Spring Tonic

treeThe best spring tonic is in your backyard! Find a maple tree and purchase a spile or spout, a sap bucket or bag (or be creative connect a plastic unused paint bucket and aluminum foil) and tap the tree for this mineral-rich, healthy drink.

The common way to tap a tree is to drill a hole in the lower trunk, angled slightly upwards. From the Cornell cooperative extension pdf online (see link for further details): “Tapholes should be drilled when temperatures are above freezing to reduce the risk of damage to the tree. Use a 7/16 inch diameter drill (available from hardware stores or maple equipment dealers) in a hand brace or breast drill. Drill into the trunk of the tree in an area that contains sound wood (free of scars, wounds, or older tapholes). …. Drill 2 to 2 1/2 inches into the tree at a slight upward angle to facilitate flow of sap.”

Tapping doesn’t t harm the tree – but remove the spile or spout when finished. Read the Cornell PDF for more info.

glass-sap2Use the sap to drink as is, heat for tea, use in making oatmeal. Even though it looks like plain water, you will taste a subtle maple flavor. This is not maple syrup, which requires a 40 to 1 ratio – meaning it takes 40 quarts of sap to boil down to 1 quart of maple syrup. That is a lengthy and detailed production, best done outdoors.

Other trees to tap-
Black walnut
Birch – which flows after the maple trees have stopped, so you re-use your equipment
Tap the sap and enjoy they benefits of this healthy spring tonic.
http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu/pubs/maple_syrup_production.pdf

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