Sap to syrup
Volunteers tap in Minnesota park’s maple trees
When the high temperatures rise above freezing and the daily lows stay below freezing, the sap starts to run in maple trees. On Saturday, April 6, at Maplewood State Park near Pelican Rapids, Minn., the volunteer group Friends of Maplewood put on a demonstration to show how maple sap is captured and made into maple syrup.
“The sap started running about two weeks ago. But in the woods, the snow was so deep, a lot of people didn’t do anything with their trees right away because they couldn’t get to them. But now it’s very active. The average flow is probably 10 to 25 days out of the year,” said Robin Johnson of Pelican Rapids. Johnson has volunteered with Friends of Maplewood for the past two years and showed attendees how to tap maple trees to capture the sap.
“You go an inch and a half into the tree to get into the sapwood. The sapwood is the part of the tree where most of that flow is going to happen,” said Johnson.
It takes 40 gallons of sap from a sugar maple tree to make 1 gallon of syrup. Sap can be collected from birch or box elder trees, also in the maple family, but it takes more sap to make the syrup, advised Friends of Maplewood volunteers. Sap comes out of the tree at 2% sugar and needs to be boiled to 66-67% to make syrup.
Friends of Maplewood volunteer John Nordstrom, of Frazee, Minn., demonstrated over an open fire and shared how Native Americans held maple camps for two to three weeks annually, collecting and boiling maple sap down to maple syrup and then cooking longer to create granulated maple. Granulated maple sugar requires no refrigeration, unlike the syrup. For Native Americans, maple sugar added flavor to cooking and was easy to transport, added Nordstrom.
At Maplewood State Park, how the sap is captured has evolved since the trees first started being tapped for their sap in 2009. Bob Hanson previously served as the Maplewood State Park manager for 32 years and was a part of starting the program. Hanson now resides six miles east of the park and remains a Friends of Maplewood volunteer.
For full article, go to: Perham Focus