MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Love maple syrup?
Well, now there are classes to learn how to make it right in the Twin Cities metro.
The classes are at state parks that are only a short drive away, like at French Regional Park where Outdoor Recreation Specialist Heather Gordon gave WCCO’s Kylie Bearse a lesson.
“We’re hoping to find some sap in this tree,” Gordon said.
Gordon knows exactly where to find the sweet spot in a maple tree. Every spring she brings groups into the park to learn how to tap a tree.
“They just get excited,” Gordon said. “It’s fun to be able to share that.”
When you can tap depends on the weather. The trees need below freezing temperatures at night, then above freezing during the day.
“That creates the just the right kind of pressure in the trees so that when we tap them the sap flows out,” Gordon said.
Thanks to a mild winter, the tapping season began a little earlier this year.
During the lessons, Gordon shows groups how to collect every single drop.
“Very carefully carry this back,” Gordon said. “We like to treat our sap like liquid gold.”
That’s because it takes a lot of sap to make a little maple syrup. Right out of the tree, sap is about 97 percent water, so it takes 10 gallons just to fill one mason jar.
“Now we take this sap and we boil it in our evaporator,” Gordon said. “All that steam coming up is the water getting out of the sap to make syrup.”
The sap needs to boil for about 8 to 10 hours.
A tasty way to teach important lessons.
“It takes time and energy and patience to get something as wonderful as maple syrup from a maple tree,” Gordon said. “It’s just such a great way to show kids where their food can come from.”
Sap can flow as early as January or as late as May, but in Minnesota maple syrup season usually runs from March 15 to April 20.
For more information on class times, visit Three Rivers Park District online.