Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Who knew you can tap Box Elder trees?
After researching how to go about tapping our trees, learning what supplies were needed for each step of the process and how to go about boiling down the sap and all involved in the finishing process...I jumped right in!
I purchased taps and tubing from Amazon.com. I found food grade buckets and a 5/16" drill bit at Lowes. I also used gallon jugs that were once spring water containers. The weather was perfect (in my rookie opinion) for sap to run and I collected just over 25 gallons of sap.
There are numerous ways to go about boiling down the sap...but I wanted to go about this using a wood-burning process outdoors. From what I've read it takes something like 45 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup when using Box Elder sap. (also note that Box Elder sap makes a more sorghum-like flavored syrup)
I once had visited a friends home in New Hampshire that had Sugar Maple trees...and the time of year I visited just-so-happened to be maple syrup season. I got to see first hand how they went about boiling down their sap...outside...over a fire...with a huge flat pan (their's probably measured around 48 inches wide by 72 inches long or so). Where could I get one of these large flat pans that's food grade?
Well, low and behold there's a company in Huntington, Indiana that makes these maple sap pans out of stainless steel. Perfect!! I called them up...ordered one and it was here within two days! The one I picked out of the assortment of sizes they offered measured 16"x40"x4", would work beautifully for what I was planning.
The plan that I hatched from all my research worked beautifully. It took me about 8 hours to boil down just over 25 gallons of sap...and as we speak I'm working on the final more controlled boil indoors before I bottle my finished product.
Stuff required for this entire process
4 five gallon food grade buckets with lids
6 tree taps with 36 inch food grade tubing
LOTS of tree sap!
14 concrete blocks
3 pieces of re-bar
sap boiling pan
cake pan (for pre-heating sap)
disposable cake pan (for pre-heating sap)
hand-held strainer for skimming out crap and debris from boiling sap
More to come!