Last year, we took our kids to do some maple tapping with a guide. It was such a fun and educational experience, and the kids are looking forward to going back for more. This year, we are prepared, with our Kid’s Maple Tree Tapping Kit!
This kit comes with everything you need – 5 pre-assembled spiles with food-grade tubing, a book, instruction sheet, and cone filter.
The book is the first thing we used, and is very informative. Although I do know some basics of maple tapping, we all learned much more, from tapping the trees to the process of making maple syrup. It will help you with your maple tapping, from identifying sugar maples to processing your sap, and it also has lots of other information and facts that are very interesting, like the history of maple syrup. The kids learned a lot from reading this book, but I also learned quite a bit. The book is well-written and full of bright images, which makes it fun to read.
Although it is winter here, it is not quite yet time to start tapping. Last year we went out at the end of March, as the winter temperatures were starting to rise into the 40’s.
Find a maple tree and check the weather: sap starts running when the nighttime temperatures are below freezing and the daytime temperatures climb into the 40°F range, usually during March and April.
This was my 6-year-old scoping out the trees as we looked around for the perfect trees to tap. My tip: make sure the kids are dressed warmly, so as to avoid complaining about the cold!
Next, you want to gather your supplies.
Assemble your tools: a drill with a standard 5/16” drill bit, a small hammer, and collection containers such as gallon jugs with lids.
We collect a bunch of gallon water jugs to use for our maple tapping, as well as a hammer and drill with a bit. Here we are stopping at some maple trees with our 4-year-old “helping out”!
Next we drilled our holes, with a little help from my daughter.
Drill a hole into the tree and gently hammer in your tap until it’s snug. Thread the tubing into your container and place it on the ground or tie it to the tree.
The sap started to flow almost immediately, and it is a watery consistency, but you can taste just a hint of sweetness. Come spring, when we start our maple tapping, we will be able to use our new spiles with tubing, which is very kid-friendly and should make the process go quickly. Plus, you can reuse the spiles/tubes every year. These spiles with food-grade tubing are easy to use, durable, and washable, so I imagine they will get used for years to come. Plus the connected tubing is very convenient, and I imagine we will not have issues with spilling sap like we did last year!
Once you have collected enough sap, you can go through the process of boiling down your sap into maple syrup, which is what we did.
One of the fun things we like to do with maple syrup is make maple syrup taffy. You heat maple syrup, carefully watching the temperature with a candy thermometer, and when it reaches the soft-ball stage, you pour it over snow.
Another yummy maple syrup treat we like to make is maple syrup mixed with milk. I think this is a good way to use maple syrup especially if you have sap that you haven’t quite boiled down enough and is maybe still a bit watery (no problem!). I add some maple syrup to milk, then heat it and froth the milk. It tastes amazing and the kids love it, so it makes for a healthier treat (compared to artificially flavored milk and other sweet drinks).
Maple tapping is a fun experience for the whole family. I love teaching my kids the process so they can see where maple syrup comes from and how much work goes into it. The Kid’s Maple Tapping Kit makes it easy to give it a try, especially if this is your first time trying maple tapping.
CONNECT! Check out the Maple Tapper website at http://www.mapletapper.com/
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