|Item Weight||12.3 ounces|
|Package Dimensions||10.7 x 10.2 x 1.8 inches|
|Size||5/16'' diameter line x 24'' long|
|Item Package Quantity||10|
10 Maple Syrup Tree Tapping Kit - 10 Taps + 2-Foot Drop Lines + Includes Sap Filter + Instructions
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- 10 NEW 5/16'' diameter, 24'' long food grade drop lines
- Maple Tree Tapping instruction guide included [Copyright Kaito Ridge]
- 10 NEW 5/16'' sustainable tree taps, produce less harm to trees than traditional metal spouts
- Cleanable and reusable, easy to use, made from durable food grade materials
- Includes premium maple sap filter, everything you need to get started right away!
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This Maple Syrup Harvest Kit includes 10 tree taps (and 10 lines) for tapping your maple trees. Collect sap to create your own maple syrup at home. Kit includes what you need to get started! Includes Just add your own clean soda or water bottles for collection. 5/16'' taps are the industry standard used by sugar houses across the country. Manufactured with sustainability and preservation as a priority. The typical maple season runs from January through April, and varies by region. Season length also varies by variables such as earth climate year to year. Please research the season in your region before ordering.
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Installation of this set is a breeze... the tubing is a tight fit on the tap, but that can be made easier by allowing it to soften in hot water for a minute or so.
If there is an issue with this set, it is that the tubes are not very long. You can purchase a suitable 1/4" ID tubing from your local hardware store (and even some barbed T fittings if you want to route multiple lines into one) and route the lines as needed.
Something that worked well for me is drilling holes in the plastic caps of the bottles and fed the tubing into the cap. This allowed for quick "switchout" and the seal between the drilled hole in the cap and the tightly fitted tubing keeps unwanted pests and dirt out.
So, the collection process turned out to be the easy part... and that is what this kit is designed to do. I think the interesting part is how inconsistent sap production is. With my 2 sugar maples below freezing, it didn't do much of anything... but other days I'd draw up to 5 gallons.
Now, the process of cooking the sap... this is pretty tedious and time consuming. I used the single burner on my propane smoker and cooked out about 3/4 gallon per hour. I cooked down about 6 gallons per day to about 3 quarts (8:1), which was manageable to store in the fridge before attempting to cook it to the final 40:1 on the stove top.
The final cookdown is not as easy as it might seem, either. As the syrup thickens, you have to keep stirring and managing the heat, or this can get out of control in a hurry. I've never seen a 3 quart sauce pan JUMP on a glass top stove, before... but with about 3" of liquid that was cooking on a low/medium heat, this did. Be very cautious doing these final steps with kids in the vicinity.
The other thing that I wasn't aware of is the "sand" that develops in the process. This is a very gritty consistency that makes the syrup unpleasant. I didn't realize its magnitude until I poured the syrup in canning jars. Like sand, it settled to the bottom of the jar.
I wasn't real happy with what I thought was my "final result" at first... it was a little runny and the color was light... and all of this sand... so I cracked open one of my jars and tried to take it a step further. The good news is that the "sand" had settled on the bottom and the syrup poured very well back into the sauce pan. The sand was about 1/8 of the total volume of the jar and spooned out of the jar easily. I cooked the de-sanded syrup down about another 20% and the color turned nicely. I had to manage the heat and stir quite a bit to get there, though.
I'm sure the flavor will differ from batch to batch and from tree to tree, but my final product had a more of a caramel flavor than I would have thought... it was very good, but a little different from my expectations.
You do not want to over cook this or you will end up with hard candy, or worse, burnt hard candy...
After I re-jarred the liquid syrup, I decided to try cooking the "sand" more... it ended up turning into a taffy-type of candy which the kids did like. I think in the future, I will use this for BBQ sauces and rubs in lieu of sugar... why not?
The bottom line is that this is great for a project... but be aware that it will be time consuming and expect to run through 1 or more 20lb bottles of propane in the process and it would be much cheaper and expedient to just buy the real processed maple syrup.
Update: I've been using this same set every year and have not had any issues with them... one thing that might help, though. I like drilling the holes in the lid of bottles and screwing the lids on tight. Well, that can create some substantial pressure inside the bottle, especially as temperatures change. In the past, I just left the lid a little loose to stop this from happening, but this year I just drilled an additional hole in the lid of the bottles with the smallest drill bit that I had... this should accomplish the same thing while being too small for most any critter to find or exploit... see pic:
Also, the tubing was a little tricky to clean, but I got some moderately flexible wire and a tiny hook on the end. Feed the wire through the tubing, use it to grab a small piece of cloth (~1" square), and pull it back through the tubing like a squeegee.
Finally, the tubing OD is a little larger than 5/16", so a 3/8" bit is better, if you're drilling a hold in a bucket lid.
This kit is great, pretty basic with the 10 spiles and tubing. We measured first before we drilled and tapped since we used the blue tubing and empty sterilized 1 gallon milk jugs. The jugs sat on the ground and we drilled a large hole on the cap to fit the tubing. Sap starting dripping immediately and after one week we collected 22+ gallons of sap from 2 trees with 2 taps each. We waited one week and boiled all day (10 hours) and made about 2 quarts of syrup. Very fun for my family, my daughter is only 3 but she loved to check the containers every day. Our neighbors and friends were all very interested in our maple syrup adventures and we will certainly do it again next year!
*update* We've used these a couple of years now and they are still like brand new.