You may recall our first attempt at making syrup from our backyard maples: How Not to Make Make Syrup at Home. Well, if at first you don't succeed...
That first attempt was 3 years ago; the last two years, we've combined our sap with a friend's and boiled using his rig. This year, we finally got around to building our own evaporator. Behold:
We made a simple evaporator using a 55-gallon drum, some pipe, and a chafing dish. Building this did require one special tool; an oxyacetylene torch, which we borrowed from a friend. This year's mild winter has made for a pretty bad sugaring season, but great weather for finally building an evaporator. Usually there's way too much snow cover to get this kind of project done.
We only have a handful of taps, so one tray is plenty for us, but you could get more out of one barrel by fitting two trays side-by-side.
So, what are we tapping? We have two silver maples and one sugar maple on our property, and a total of 5 taps. 5 gallons of sap makes about a pint of syrup, so that's our minimum batch. In a good year, we can make about a gallon, which is plenty for our household. It remains to be seen how many more runs we'll get this season.