This picture guide goes through the steps I take to boil the sap for making maple syrup. This is the second step in the process of making maple syrup, after collecting the sap, but before the final finishing boil.
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This is part 2 of a 3 part series on how to make your own maple syrup. These are the links to the other articles in this series:
- Part 1 – How to Tap Trees for Maple Syrup
- Part 2 – How to Boil Sap for Maple Syrup
- Part 3 – How to Perfect the Finishing Boil for Maple Syrup
What I Recommend:
I use a turkey fryer to boil sap in for these reasons. These are the supplies you’ll need for sap boiling:
- propane turkey fryer (or a natural gas burner)
- 50 qt boiling pot or cooking pan
- stir paddle
- propane tank
How to Boil Maple Sap for Syrup – Step by Step
The following steps are the easiest way to boil maple sap to make your own maple syrup! You will end up with some really, really tasty maple syrup, and as you go along and gain experience, you may decide you want to tweak the process to your liking. For answers to some of the more common questions about harvesting and boiling maple sap, check out our most common Frequently Asked Questions!
Steps for Boiling Maple Sap into Syrup
- Set up a turkey fryer in a safe place.
- Fill a boiling pot with 5 gallons of sap.
- Boil the sap for approximately 4 hours.
- When you have about a half gallon left in the pot, finish boiling on a stove.
- The syrup is done when it reaches 219° or 66% sugar content.
Detailed Step by Step Procedure for Boiling Maple Syrup
Step 1: Arrange the Turkey Fryer
Set up your turkey fryer in a safe place where it won’t start surrounding brush on fire. (See my list of 5 Reasons to Use a Turkey Fryer for Making Maple Syrup!) The main benefits are the ease of use (instant heat) and better tasting syrup (wood-burning can make syrup taste smoky, whereas propane burns cleanly, its only byproducts are carbon dioxide and water).
Step 2: Fill the Pot With 5 Gallons of Sap
Pour 5 gallons of sap into your boiling pot and start the fryer. I often like to start boiling with 2-3 gallons of sap, and once the boiling has started, add a gallon about every hour or so.
In order to increase the surface area of the sap being boiled and therefore increase the rate of evaporation, some people use a cooking pan.
Step 3: Boil the Sap for 4 hrs
Set it at a medium heat and wait for it to start boiling. Once the sap starts to boil, you may need to adjust the heat slightly so that it keeps a nice rolling boil. If it is too hot, it will start to boil over. If it is too low, you won’t see bubbles coming up.
Here, the sap has been boiling for about 1 hour.
Continue to boil down the sap until you have about 1.5″ to 2″ of sap in the bottom of your kettle. This will take about 4-5 hours. This will get your sap to about the 10:1 ratio.
Step 4: Finish the Boiling on a Stove
Finish boiling the sap to the final sugar content on an indoor stove – for more control.
In the following picture, the sap is nearly done boiling outside, notice the rich dark color of the sap. Soon, we will turn off the burning and bring the sap inside for the final boiling.
Step 5: The Syrup is done when it reaches 219° or 66% sugar content
I recommend doing the ‘finishing boil‘ on the stove inside your house so that you can keep a closer eye on it as well as to monitor the temperature more closely.
A complete description of the finishing boil is given in the next article.
Click here for our most Frequently Asked Questions regarding boiling maple syrup!
Check out the rest of the articles in this series on How to Make Maple Syrup at Home!