Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tap My Trees - Maple Sugaring At Home Review

Every year we do a short unit study on maple syrup.  We look at the history of maple syrup and the methods used by both the Native Americans and also the Colonists.  All the kids looks forward to it.  After all, who doesn't look forward to such a yummy unit study.  We all know that tasting is a must when dealing with maple syrup.  Well this year we were given the fortunate opportunity to review the Maple Sugaring Starter Kit with Aluminum Buckets from Tap My Trees.

We tried unsuccessfully to put together the materials a few years ago to tap the maple trees in our yard.  I made the list of suggested materials for inexperienced maple syrup tappers, and we went looking.  We had to make do with what materials we could find.  And unfortunately, none of the materials we found were successful in our attempt.  We got very frustrated and then never finished even attempting the project.  We bought locally made maple syrup instead.  I have always wanted to try again, but the thought of the time and expense did not make me want to even try this project again.  Until we received this easy-to-use kit.

I was very impressed when we opened our package from Tap My Trees.  

Everything came in well wrapped and a wonderful Guidebook was also included. 

The Maple Sugaring Starter Kit with Aluminum Buckets ($109.95) includes:

  • 3 - 2 gallon aluminum Buckets tat are to collect the sap.
  • 3 Metal Lids for the buckets. These prevent dirt and precipitation from getting into your bucket 
  • 3 Spiles (taps).. These stainless steel spiles or taps can be inserted into drilled hole to transfer sap into the bucket
  • 3 aluminum hooks: These allow you to hook your bucket to the spiles.
  • Maple Sugaring at Home book: This guide provides step-by-step instruction (complete with pictures) to tap your maple trees. Includes information on how to identify your maple trees, how to tap trees, collection and storage of sap, uses for maple sap including how to make maple syrup, and frequently asked questions.
  • 1 Drill Bit: 7/16 drill bit with 3/8 shank used to drill tap hole into your maple tree
  • Cheesecloth: Used to filter any solids (such as pieces of bark) when transferring sap from the collection bucket to a storage container.
My husband was greatly impressed that the kit includes the drill bit even.  He didn't need to go looking through all his tools to find the bit that would be the right size.  

First we read through the Maple Sugaring at Home Guide booklet.  This booklet included is a great guide for anyone new to Maple Syrup collection or even those who are more experienced.  It's not just a page of directions for how to tap the trees.  It is packed full information on tree types and identification methods, ideal locations to put your buckets for optimal collection, and frequently asked questions that you might have about this experience. 

Since basically everything but the drill was included in kit, we were easily able to double check the measurements of our tree and within 10 minutes we had the tree tapped.

Instructions are given to mark your drill bit so that you do not drill too deep into your tree.  We easily tapped the spile into the tree.  There is a place for the bucket hook.  And the lid snapped on easily.

Now our weather and tree did not provide us much in the terms of sap.  We still have our trees tapped and hoping for the ability to actually getting to boil some sap and attempt to make our syrup.  I guess we can thank the El Nino weather this year for that.

But this process has been so much more positive that I wouldn't mind doing it again next year.  

Would I recommend the Maple Sugaring Starter Kit with Aluminum Buckets from Tap My Trees?  Absolutely!!!  This kit is packed full of information and equipment.  It is high quality materials, that are made to be reused.  You can easily clean up the materials and store them for use the next year.  The investment that would be made with this kit is one that will pay off in savings from multiple years of making your own maple syrup.  As long as you clean the equipment before storing each year, it will last you for many maple sugaring seasons.

The Maple Sugaring Starter Kit with Aluminum Buckets from Tap My Trees would make a great addition to a maple syrup study unit to easily allow you to add science and history together and or you could really round out any unit study on pioneer life or even Native American studies.  

There were a several other members of the Schoolhouse Review that were given the opportunity to try out the Maple Sugaring Starter Kit with Aluminum Buckets from Tap My Trees.  To see how they enjoyed and used this product in their home, take a few moments and hop over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

Tap My Trees Review
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