Making Maple Syrup

This page features information tailored for beginning maple syrup producers, although established producers may find value as well. The resources will be updated periodically, so check back often.


Beginner Maple Sugaring

This video provide an introduction to the process and equipment required to make maple syrup.

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Beginner Maple Syrup – trees to table (1 hr)

Natural Resources Educator, Bill Klase, walks through the basics of making maple syrup, from tree to table.


From Sap to Table

Maple sugar is not just for table syrup. This section outlines some important considerations for making maple syrup and other other maple products. We are working to update these resources so check back soon.

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Energy Considerations

Maple syrup production is an energy-intensive process. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in Ontario, Canada, it takes 400,000 to 500,000 BTUs of energy to produce one gallon of maple syrup (equivalent to 2.7 to 3.4 gallons of fuel oil or 0.06 to 0.08 face cords of maple firewood/gallon of syrup). Energy is a major component in the cost of production, accounting for 26 to 34% of the production costs without reverse osmosis and 8 to 11% with reverse osmosis based on using wood or fuel oil, respectively. For ideas and resources on energy efficiency in maple syrup operations, check out our helpful maple syrup energy site.


WI Maple Hour: Energy Efficiency

Beth Peterson, Assistant State Conservation Engineer with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Bethany Reinholtz, Project Manager with GSD Associates join the Maple Hour to discuss energy efficiency projects for maple syrup operations and financial assistance to help make them happen.

Food Safety Regulations Decision Tree

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is responsible for ensuring that maple syrup and other maple food products are produced safely in the state. These requirements come from Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 87 (Honey and Maple Syrup). Licensed facilities also must meet requirements in Wis. Admin. Code § ATCP 70 (Wholesale Food Manufacturing).


Iron County Extension’s food regulations decision tool helps producers of all size operations determine which food safety licenses and registrations are appropriate for their operation. This is an educational tool only. The final authority in any food safety licensing decision lies with DATCP. Local and federal rules may also apply to your maple operation.


WI Maple Hour: Food Safety for Maple Businesses

This ‘Maple Hour’ features UW-Madison Professor of Food Science, Barbara Ingham. She provides guidance on food safety planning for food businesses using maple sugar in products like maple-flavored sauces and dressings, sparkling maple water, and infused maple syrup.

Cooking with Maple – Beyond the Pancake

Maple syrup and maple sugar are incredibly versatile cooking ingredients, good for far more than topping your morning pancakes.

“You can go through your entire day with maple in every dish.”

Darrin Kimbler, a UW–Madison Extension educator in Iron County.

For the May 2023 Maple Hour, Darrin gave a live cooking demonstration showing how to incorporate maple syrup into savory dishes. He suggested choosing the grade of syrup based on the type of dish you’re cooking and how prominent you want the maple flavor to be. Golden Delicate works well as a replacement for white sugar or honey. Amber Rich is a good substitute for brown sugar, adds a nice flavor to barbecued meats, and provides a Wisconsin twist on Sichuan, Korean, and Thai recipes. Dark Robust pairs well with roasted meats and charred vegetables.

In baking, you can use either maple syrup or maple sugar, Darrin noted. Maple sugar can substitute one-for-one for any other solid sugar. When using syrup instead of solid sugar, you may need to add a larger quantity of syrup and reduce the amount of another liquid.

In his demonstration, which you can watch below, Darrin whipped up a dinner featuring maple syrup in two ways. Here is the recording and his recipes so you can try them yourself!



Maple Glazed Charred Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (with a high smoke point, such as grapeseed oil)
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup pecan or walnut pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Wisconsin maple syrup (Dark Robust)
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste

Steps

  1. Add oil to skillet or wok and heat over med-high heat to shimmering. Add Brussels sprouts and cook for 3-5 min stirring occasionally until a slight char starts to appear on cut side.
  2. Add garlic and nuts and continue to cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently.
  3. Turn down heat to med-low stir in vinegar and reduce. Stir in maple syrup and take off heat. 
  4. Salt to taste and serve warm.

Maple Remoulade Sauce for Crab Cakes and More

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Wisconsin maple syrup (Amber Rich)
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Steps

  1. Mix all ingredients together and chill until time to serve.

 

Adapting to Changes in Your Sugarbush

Buckets hanging from trees. Not much snow is on the ground.

Maple syrup producers across the Midwest have noticed changes in their sugarbushes in recent years, such as earlier tapping seasons and the arrival of new invasive and competing plant species and forest pests. Explore our sugarbush adaptation guide, which features descriptions of current and future environmental challenges that can affect syrup production along with concrete actions you can take to address them.

 

Other internal resource pages

Check out our ‘Sugarbush Forestry’ page for resources about managing your sugarbush for health and resiliency to ensure consistent sap production now and into the future.

If you’re interested in turning your passion for maple syrup into a business, our ‘Selling Maple Products’ page has some great resources to get you started.

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