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Native Americans in the Northeast started collecting sap from maple trees. They would collect the sap by making slashes in the tree and collect the sap in a bowl shaped object. Not having pots to boil the sap, they boiled out the water by dropping hot rocks in the containers of sap. 
In the early days sap was boiled down into maple sugar instead of maple syrup. This was because there was no easy way to store maple syrup in liquid form, but they could store dry maple sugar to use down the road.
European settlers learned from the Native American population. The settlers set up sugar camps where the maple trees were most rich. Around 1800 it was suggested a healthier way to tap a tree was to drill a hole in the tree and insert a spile or tap. The early spiles were made of a softwood in which the center was carved out to make a wooden tube to insert into the maple tree to let the sap drip out of into a collection container.
As time evolved new inventions and ideas arose and sugarmakers started gathering sap in wooden buckets and sap was boiled in a large iron kettles hanging over a open fire.
Today there are metal and plastic taps and buckets, tubing systems and fittings, evaporators, filtering systems, reverse  osmosis machines and so much more technology.



Starting February through March, when the temperatures rise above freezing during the day and go below freezing at night this is when the sap will begin to run.

  1.  Tapping into the tree: This is done by drilling a hole into the tree 1.5” to 2" deep.

  2. Next the tap is placed in the hole and tapped gently.

  3. These taps can be connected to a tubing system or buckets can be hung.

  4. Sap flows through the tap into the bucket or flows through the tubing system into a collection tank.

  5. Collecting the sap.

  6. Boiling: This occurs using a evaporator. As the sap is boiling in the evaporator, the water evaporates.

  7. Syrup is ready at 7 degrees above the boiling point of water, which is 219 degrees. The best way to determine if the syrup is ready is to use a hydrometer.



  • It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of Pure Maple Syrup.

  • Different Species of Maple Trees: The most common tree in the maple industry is the Sugar Maple, other maple species include Red Maple, Silver Maple, and Norway maple.

  • Maine's Pure Maple Syrup grading system: Golden Color with Delicate Flavor, Amber Color with Rich Flavor, Dark Color with Robust Flavor, and Very Dark Color with Strong Flavor.

Maple History and Facts: What's Happening
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