Northwoods Adventure: Maple Sap Processing At Lake Bemidji State Park
A dozen visitors watched a demonstration to learn about collecting and processing sap this past Saturday at Lake Bemidji State Park.
“This season, we tapped 10 trees that are back in the woods, sugar maple – and we had about a three – pretty steady – week run of the sap and collecting the sap,” said Lake Bemidji State Park Retired Naturalist John Flypaa. “Bringing it back to the patio here, where we’re simply boiling it down and turning it into syrup.”
Mid-March and mid-April are the ideal months to tap and process maple sap. Flypaa said to look for weather patterns of warm days and cold nights.
“The trees will run anywhere from a week to six weeks if that weather pattern keeps up, and the sap just keeps flowing until a period when it’s warm overnight for a few days, and then the trees start to develop their leaves and it’s no longer considered prime sap for collecting,” said Flypaa.
Flypaa said they do it in stages.
“So it may take up to three weeks for us to cook all the sap we get before we actually have maple syrup,” said Flypaa.
It takes about 30 gallons of sap for one gallon of syrup. The color of the maple syrup can vary from year to year. Flypaa said that it can also depend on the time it takes to process it.
“It can be anywhere from a real light, almost honey color some seasons to a very dark brown, almost can’t see through it dark,” said Flypaa.
Flypaa said the reward for making maple syrup is being outdoors and seeing the first signs of spring.