Lincoln Memorial Garden Turns Sap into Syrup
It's maple syrup season at Lincoln Memorial Garden. Workers tap more than 150 maple trees every season for sap, which is the first step in making syrup.
"When the daytime temperatures are in the mid-30s, nighttime temperatures are in the mid-teens, causing the sap to flow up the tree from the root zone and enabling us to take the sap and boil the water away from the sugars and make maple syrup," Miller said.
Miller has been tapping maple trees for the last 23 years.
But this maple syrup season is unlike any he has experienced before. Due to our extreme winter, the sap just isn't flowing like it usually is this time of year.
"Simply because it has just been too cold during the day and therefore our season is a little bit later. Last year for example we were able to tap the maple trees in early January because the temperatures were just right," he said.
Better late than never, Miller is now tapping the maple trees for sap.
"We can take as many as four gallons in an eight hour period when the weather is just right and the sap flows very heavily. If it's slow we may only get one gallon a day," Miller said.
It takes a lot of sap to make maple syrup.
"One year we made something like 19 gallons and then we've made as little as eight gallons. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. So that's a lot of sap, that's a lot of collecting. It really varies depending on the weather," Miller said.
After the sap is collected, it's time to make the syrup, a time-consuming process.
"It takes about eight hours to boil down 40 gallons of sap because we're doing it the old-fashioned way where we use wood to create the heat that is needed to evaporate the water away from the sap," Miller said.
Miller demonstrates the tree tapping process for students and families.
"On the demonstrations we'll say, 'okay does anyone want to have a taste of the sap,' and they come up and get a taste of that sweet tasting sap and then we collect it into these jugs," Miller said.