Make Homemade Maple Syrup: With or Without Maple Tree Sap

homemade maple syrupOur LA vacation is winding down, and with a few minutes to spare, I figured I'd start planning our return to normalcy. March in New Hampshire is all about mud and maple syrup, both of which we will have our hands in during the coming weeks. Homemade maple syrup is a treat beyond compare, and something we find excuses to have when we can.

Wendie and the kids absolutely love the unique flavor of homemade maple syrup, so the first order of business upon getting back is to check the buckets. Though there's been one heck of a freeze back home, chances are there will be some sap that needs collecting. Homemade maple syrup is definitely worth the effort, whether from the trees or with a little ingenuity.

How to Make Homemade Maple Syrup

maple syrup on snow
If you have maple trees in your area, whether they are sugar maples or not, your first choice should always be to go with the natural selection. However, if there are no maple trees about, you can still make a fairly passable syrup on your own with a few grocery store staples. Homemade maple syrup is worth it.

One very important thing of note. If you are making homemade maple syrup of the tree sap variety, you will want to work outdoors. If instead you go with the grocery store clone, working in your kitchen is just fine. The reason being is that a proper maple sap cook is extensive and messy, leaving residue not only on your counter and stove top, but the walls and ceiling as well.

Gather Your Ingredients

homemade maple syrupThe French cooking term for it is 'mise en place,' meaning you should prepare by putting everything you will use in your recipe in one place. By gathering your ingredients beforehand, you ensure nothing will be left out of your homemade maple syrup recipe.

For the cloned recipe, you will need 1 cup of water, 1 cup of white, granulated sugar, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of maple flavor extract. If you prefer a thicker concoction, up the brown sugar to 2 cups and remove the white sugar from your recipe.

Cloned Homemade Maple Syrup

homemade maple syrup
Boil your water over a medium heat, then add your sugars. Reduce the heat to medium low and add in your maple flavoring. Continue to cook the mixture for 3 more minutes.

Allow your homemade maple syrup to cool slightly and pour warm over your preferred breakfast bonanza. In my opinion, pancakes, waffles and the like are only vehicles for the sweet, sweet maple goodness poured over them.

Leftover syrup can be poured into a container and stored in the fridge for later use.

Real Maple Syrup Production

maple syrup productionReal maple syrup production can be a laborious process, but well worth the effort if you must have the real thing on your plate. It takes 10 gallons of maple tree sap to produce 1 quart of real homemade maple syrup. The sap has to be boiled down to remove all of the water content, and this takes a while.

This amount of sap means a large amount of steam generated by the maple syrup production, so it needs to be done outdoors to save your kitchen from falling apart. 

An outdoor grill will work alright, but to really control your heat, use a turkey frier. These hook directly up to an LP tank and will make your cook time a little more pleasant. Try some of the various maple syrup uses while waiting. You will have plenty of time.

Under the heat, the sap will reduce down through the boiling process and release steam. Keep the boil going by adding in fresh sap once the cook pot have reduced by 3/4 in volume. Keep this up until all of the sap is used. Test with a cold spoon until it reaches the consistency you prefer.

Maple Syrup Uses

maple syrup uses
Homemade maple syrup uses include more than just a topping for pancakes and waffles. Try adding it to baked beans, drizzled over baked sweet potatoes or ice cream. Use homemade maple syrup instead of sugar on cereals and oatmeal.

If your conditions are right, you can make maple taffy during your boil by pouring some on fresh snow. The extreme cold of the snow will instantly stop the syrup from cooking by reducing the temperature to the consistency of taffy. This is a great treat while waiting for the rest of the sap to boil down.

We love sharing our off the grid homesteading adventures with you all, and truly enjoy hearing from you. Have you ever made homemade maple syrup? Is your maple syrup production done in a shack or over an open fire? Have you had maple syrup on snow before? What are your favorite maple syrup uses? Let us know by joining the conversation below, and remember to subscribe for free!


Leta said…
Love this. Maple syrup is so delicious! #GoingGreenLinky
WT Abernathy said…
Hi Leta! So happy to connect with you:) Yes, there's definitely something magical about the taste of maple syrup. In fact, we're putting up two new taps today to increase our harvest-
I have always wanted to tap a tree for sap - one day maybe! I hope you got a good amount when you checked your buckets. #GoingGreen
WT Abernathy said…
We had always wanted to as well, and now that we're on the new homestead, it became a priority project. Just checked the buckets this morning, and it looks like we'll have 5 gallons for the boil this Saturday. At a ration of 40:1, it won't be a lot, but for out first season, we're pleased and will be more confident and prepared for next year!