Maple farmers typically tap their Maple trees before the sap begins to run. Drill your hole about three inches deep, two feet up from the ground on the side of the tree trunk that receives the longest exposure to sun – generally the south-facing side.
Typically, the sap is a clear, slightly sweet liquid containing about 1-4% sugar. It will take 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup. To produce the finest quality maple syrup, the sap should be evaporated as soon as possible.
As the water is boiled off, the liquid becomes sweeter and more concentrated, and begins to move towards the front of the pan. This is when the boiling sap turns golden. When it reaches 70 degrees F above water’s boiling point, it has become maple syrup. What was 98% water and 2% sugar is now 33% water and 67% sugar. The sweet-smelling steam is a sure sign that the sugar-making season is in full swing – and that you’re ready to eat!