How to Make Your Own Maple Syrup with an Evaporator

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How to Make Your Own Maple Syrup with an Evaporator- someone loading the firebox of a sap evaporator

I received the Seedling Evaporator pan from The Vermont Evaporator Company as part of our experience with a maple syrup teaching kit. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review. This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Ask any maple syrup hobbyist and they’ll tell you…they can hardly wait to get outdoors, for sugaring season to begin. And, why not? It’s the first big thing you can do as spring begins to appear. How to Make Your Own Maple Syrup with an Evaporator, will show you how easy the experience is for regular people like you and me!

When Is it Time to Tap My Tree?

How to Make Your Own Maple Syrup with an Evaporator- a large maple with the taps set

Or how do you know when the sap is going to run?

Be on the lookout for longer, warmer days in the late days of winter

and very early spring.

  • Temperature– plays a big part in the movement of sap
  • Sun and warm 40 degree days– during the day it’s 40 or more degrees
  • Below freezing at night– with a nice cool down during the night

Sugaring weather begins when you feel winter’s starting to lose its grip!

Benefits of Using an Evaporator to Make Maple Syrup

How to Make Your Own Maple Syrup with an Evaporator- an evaporator setup over a wood fire for boiling sap

When you start collecting the sap from your maple tree, you’ll notice that it’s clear and mildly sweet.

Go ahead- taste it!

In fact, the sap you collect is mostly water.

When you boil down the sap, you are evaporating the water

and leaving behind the concentrated sugar portion of the sap.

It takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple sugar.

So, the name of this game is to find the right tools for boiling down all that sap!

I’m here to tell you that an evaporator pan is a much better tool than a stock pot from your kitchen.

Guess how I know!

The evaporator pan:

  • Allows you to boil more sap at once– boiling sap is a long process. The more you can accommodate at once, the smoother the process.
  • Boil outdoors– the last time we did this we boiled on our gas stove top. It’s much better done outside where the water you are boiling off and be free!
  • Saves work– in moving sap around because you can put more in to boil at a time rather than constantly loading a smaller vessel
  • Increases the surface area– so the boiling is more efficient and faster
  • Offers a continuous boil– if the pan is fluted you can add sap on one end and get more concentrated sap out the other
  • Use with a wood or gas fire– depending on the size of your pan and your set up

The Vermont Evaporator Company Pans

How to Make Your Own Maple Syrup with an Evaporator- small, fluted evaporator pan with boiling sap insdie
The boiling sap is beginning to thicken in our Seedling evaporator pan.

The trick in a backyard sugaring operation is to find the equipment that is suitable for your needs.

The Vermont Evaporator Company makes two evaporator pans for smaller operations and they come in two sizes.

The Sapling– comes with its own fire box which is made from a 55 gallon drum. This one is for more than 3 trees. The bonus is that you can get grill and smoker attachments for it in the off season.

This one is too big for us.

Though we have a yard almost entirely treed with sugar maples, most are too small to tap.

How to Make Your Own Maple Syrup with an Evaporator Pan- a smiling middle schooler leans over a bucket and spiel at a sugar maple
It’s the trees. They bring a smile to anyone’s face.

The Seedling– is perfect if you are tapping 1-3 trees. It’s a fluted, stainless box that fits on a large gas grill.

That means no fussing with making a fire box.

True confessions.

It’s time for us to get a new grill (and shout out to my husband Dan who will read this… our next grill will be big enough for the seedling pan!).

So, I visited a friend with a well loved and much experienced sugar shack and he tried out the evaporator pan.

It was a good run, but with 9 or so trees, he definitely needs the Sapling size!

Here’s the thing. Having a small sized evaporator pan means that if you can tap one tree in your backyard, you can easily boil down your sap into syrup.

The message I want you to take home on this whole making maple syrup thing is that it’s doable.

If we can do it, so can you!

It’s not just for farmers and homesteaders!

Resources for Learning about Maple Sugaring

How to Make Your Own Maple Syrup with an Evaporator- a middle school by leaning over to look into a maple syrup bucket

How about some books and videos to catch the sugaring spirit?

It’s a quintessentially New England tradition.

And most people who learn we’ve done it, wish they could too!

Maple Sugaring at Home- a teen girl  stands next to a sugar maple trunk with her field guide to identify it.
Identifying the right tree for sugaring is an important part of the process!

How to Make Maple Syrup- a smiling teen girl stands next to her sugar maple preparing to collect the sap in the bucket
It’s not that difficult- we did it!

There’s something uniquely wonderful about making your own maple syrup.

The trees are special.

The weather is delightful.

The process is lovely.

The results are heavenly.

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