The Sweet Hobby of Maple Sugaring
Have you ever thought about tapping into your maple trees to make your own syrup? It's not hard to do, and the results are delicious and satisfying. Just think of all the delectable places your homemade maple syrup could end up!
Hint: see below for some mouth-watering, maple syrup-infused recipes.
Now's the time to get tappin', because tapping for maple syrup is generally done only in the spring when the weather is more predictable and the sap sugar content is high. Sap flow from a tapped tree won't occur every day throughout the tapping season, but only when the conditions are right. You can expect to collect sap until just before the tree buds begin to expand, usually in late March or early April, depending on weather - nighttime temperatures below freezing, and above freezing by day, ideally to about 40 degrees F.
Find all Your Maple Sugaring Supplies & Equipment at Mills Fleet Farm
Tree tapping tips:
- For 7/16 in. taps - 1 tap for 10-20 in. diameter trees, 2 taps for 20+ in. diameter trees.
- For 5/16 in. taps - 1 tap for 8-20 in. diameter trees, 2 taps for 20+ in. diameter trees.
Drill tap at a 5-10 degree angle. Tapping too far down, ice will always push back the spout. Tapping up too much loses depth. Always tap perpendicular to the bark surface.
Drill tap holes (depending on spout diameter) at breast height, 1-1/2 to 3 in. deep into the trunk.
Hit the spouts with the right strength. Watch for the change of sound and stop hitting. (Don't hit too hard or the tree could split. If hit too soft, the spout might pull out.)
Dijon Maple Glazed Salmon
A salmon recipe combining the sweetness of maple syrup with the zippy tang of Dijon mustard, making it a delicious and nutritious meal.
- 1.5 lbs Salmon Filet
- 1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
Preheat oven to 375. Pat salmon dry using a paper towel. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil. Place salmon on covered baking sheet. In a small bowl mix mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Brush the mustard maple mixture on salmon, reserved a small amount for glazing later. Bake salmon for 9 minutes. Remove from oven, brush remaining mixture on salmon. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes until salmon flakes with a fork. Remove and serve!
How to Make Maple Butter
Add maple buttery goodness on top of French toast, pancakes, fresh cornbread, rolls, biscuits, crusty whole grain bread, and whatever else you can think of.
- 1 Cup Maple Syrup
- Pinch of Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt
- 3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, Cut into Chunks
In a medium saucepan, add maple syrup and pinch of salt and cinnamon. Heat maple syrup over high heat until boiling (*be sure to use a large-ish pan, as syrup will boil up about double or more). Attach or insert thermometer and boil until syrup reaches 240F. Immediately remove from heat and stir in butter until it's completely melted. Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer or alternately, use a large bowl with a hand mixer. Start on low speed and gradually increase speed until you reach high. Continue to beat on high until mixture is lightened and creamy, about 8-10 minutes total. (Mixture will still be a bit runny at this point. Don't worry, it will firm up in the fridge.) Pour into a jar or bowl, cover and refrigerate. If your maple butter has separated after cooling (leaving a layer of butter on top) simply stir the butter back in to incorporate. Maple butter will keep refrigerated in an air-tight container about 2 weeks.
Maple Roasted Pork Loin
Moist and tender, seasoned oh-so-perfectly, this pork loin recipe might just become one of your favorites.
- 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup, Divided
- 1/4 Cup Light Molasses
- 1 tbls Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
- 2 tbls Sugar
- 1 tbls Salt
- 2 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Pork Tenderloins (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each)
- 2 tbls Vegetable Oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Stir 1/4 cup maple syrup, molasses, vinegar, paprika and ginger together in a liquid measuring cup or bowl; set aside. Whisk cornstarch, sugar, salt, and black pepper in small bowl until combined. Transfer the cornstarch mixture to a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the pork tenderloins dry with paper towels, then roll in cornstarch mixture until evenly coated on all sides. Pat or shake off the excess cornstarch (really important or the excess coating can get gummy). In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat shimmering and hot. Place both tenderloins in the skillet, leaving at least 1 inch in between and cook until well browned on all sides, 5-6 minutes total. Transfer the tenderloins to a lightly greased oven-proof wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. If you don't have a rack that size, the tenderloins can be placed on a lightly greased baking sheet - the coating on the undersides of the pork may be a bit soft after baking but it will still work fine. Pour off any excess grease/fat from the skillet and return it to medium heat. Add the syrup mixture to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, and simmer the mixture until it is reduced slightly, 1-2 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 tablespoons of the hot glaze to a small bowl and set aside. Using the remaining glaze, brush each tenderloin with approximately 1 tablespoon glaze. Roast the pork for about 15-20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloins registers 130 degrees. Brush each tenderloin with another tablespoon glaze and continue to roast another 4-6 minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloins registers 135 to 140 degrees. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and brush the pork with the remaining glaze. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes. While the tenderloins rest, stir the remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup into the reserved 1 1/2 tablespoons glaze (you may need to warm the reserved glaze slightly if it has thickened). Brush each tenderloin with the glaze (it's ok if there is some remaining; read on). Slice the pork into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices and serve with the remaining glaze.
Peanut Butter Maple Fudge
They say peanut butter goes with just about anything. Here it teams up with maple syrup and chopped peanuts to make a heavenly fudge. Better make two batches!
- 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
- 1/3 Cup Salted Natural Peanut Butter
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Cup Roasted Salted Peanuts, Coarsely Chopped, Divided
Line a mini muffin pan with 12 waxed or silicone muffin liners. You can alternatively line a small container with parchment paper or waxed paper. In a small saucepan, mix together the maple syrup, peanut butter and coconut oil over medium heat. If your peanut butter is unsalted, add a pinch of salt. At first it won't appear to come together well. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and while continuing to stir constantly, boil for about 2 minutes. It should have thickened a bit. If you use a heavy bottom pan, you may need to boil it a little longer. Stir in the vanilla until well combined. Stir in 5 tablespoons chopped peanuts, if using. Pour into the waxed or silicone liners, top with remaining 3 tablespoons chopped peanuts, if using, and place the pan in the freezer. If you don't have room in your freezer, refrigerate for a few hours until firm and then transfer the fudge pieces to a small container that does fit in your freezer. Freeze for about 2-3 hours. The liners will be easy to remove once the fudge has thoroughly frozen. This fudge does not travel well (unless you have a cooler!) It should be kept refrigerated or frozen.
With a drill and a few supplies, you can to tap into one of nature's sweetest resources. To begin, see our selection of Maple Syrup Supplies and Equipment to start you on your way. It'll be on your table in no time!