Maple syruping program set Sunday

Jefferson County Conservation is inviting everyone to learn about maple syruping during a free program at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Jefferson County Park Nature Center.

?You don?t have to be part of a farming operation or have expensive equipment to take part in and enjoy the results of maple syruping,? said Jefferson County Naturalist Therese Cummiskey.

Participants will learn the maple syruping process from start to finish in the park?s small backyard operation.

Most years, the staff at Jefferson County Park taps trees in February, although there has been a good sap flow as early as the last week in January and as late as in mid-March. It depends on when the weather is right ? daytime highs in the 40s and nighttime lows in the 20s.

Maple syrup can be made from the sap from any type of maple tree, including box elders, although the trees with the highest concentration of sugar, like sugar maples, require less boiling. Generally, the ratio of sap to syrup for the sugar maple is 35 to 40 gallons, but it could take up to 60 gallons of box elder sap to make one gallon of syrup. Silver maples are tapped at Jefferson County Park.

Once about 20 gallons of sap has been collected, the park staff begins boiling it to reduce it to syrup. Most of the boiling is done outdoors over a fire, but once the 20 gallons has been reduced to about a gallon, it is taken indoors and finished in a smaller pan on the stove. When the syrup is finished, it is strained through cheesecloth, poured into jars and refrigerated.

Details on necessary equipment, tapping trees and making the syrup will be presented during ?Backyard Maple Syruping.? No registration is necessary for the free program.