[nafex] tapping trees other than maple

Mark Lee mark.lee.phd at gmail.com
Thu Jan 31 18:47:26 EST 2013

I don't have a sugar maple, but this year I have plans for tapping some of
my trees for their sap. Something to do while waiting for the orchard to
wake up.
I have been researching alternatives to sugar maple...
English Walnut - I have read that walnut trees can be tapped, and the sap
can be boiled down into a syrup. It takes about 2 gallons to make a cup of
syrup. That is a sap:syrup ratio of 32:1. You could also drink the sap
directly or ferment it in the style of birch beer. Here is a link to a
video tapping a related species. Place one tap on the sunny side of the
tree for trees up to 1 foot diameter, 2 taps for larger trees.
Silver birch - These trees are weeds that spring up around my yard. Here is
a three part video that demonstrates how to tap a birch tree.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0rX_uKE3SU - drilling the hole, placing the
tap and bucket
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW5k48i-0LM - filling a bottle
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY5Noz5Gdzw - removing the tap, plugging the
Alternative maple trees - This video has some comments about Euell Gibbons
sampling the various maple species:
"Euell Gibbons, in his book 'Stalking the Good Life' rated syrups produced
by different species of Maple tree by his personal taste. Acer saccharum,
Acer nigrum (Sugar Maples) came in first for taste. In second place for
taste was Acer plataneides (Norway Maple). In third place was Acer negundo
(Common Box Elder). In fourth place was the Acer rubrum (Red Maple, or
Swamp Maple). In last place is Acer saccarinum (Silver Maple). Silver Maple
syrup tastes almost identical to Corn Syrup. Box Elder syrup tastes more
like traditional Maple syrup, but with a bit of a tang taste to it. I may
have over-cooked the Box Elder syrup just a touch, giving it a carmelized
candy flavor that the Silver Maple syrup didn't have. Boiling down a liter
of Silver Maple sap gives about 1.5 ounces of syrup. Boiling down a liter
of Box Elder sap gives about .75 ounces of syrup. The Silver Maple sap
makes about twice as much syrup per liter as does the Box Elder sap .The
Box Elder and the Silver Maple, like all Maple trees, can easily be
identified by their helicopter seeds. The Silver Maples out back here of
the house have shed all their helicopters over the winter, but the Box
Elders still have clusters of helicopter seeds that haven't fallen yet. It
is best to boil the sap down in shallow pans under low heat. Deep pots
don't work as well. 40 gallons of sap will typically make about a gallon of
syrup. Unless you honestly want to steam the wall paper off your walls,
only a pint or so of Maple syrup should be made over a kitchen stove.
Boiling off 39 gallons of water in your house will make the sheet rock
Sycamore - This video is from England. I like this guy's accent.
He is in his best survivalist mode while a church bell rings in the
background and his cell phone rings in his pocket. Funny.
Grape - Not a tree, but...
"We also used to cut Wild grape vines in the spring (for making wreaths),
they have a lot of sap. I cut some that were flowing with sap, harvested
the sap and boiled it down. It had a great sweet grapey flavor."

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