When the nights are still cold but days begin to warm, sap rises in the maple trees, and it's time to tap into this sweet resource. Even if you live in a fairly urban setting, you may be able to tap your own and boil it off for some DIY syrup. Your pancakes will thank you.
Maple Tapping Drill a hole in the maple trunk, hammer in a tap, hang a bucket, and wait. Each day you'll collect a bucket of maple sap. (Image via Homegrown.org)
Sugaring Off The sap is drinkable (and delicious!) on its own, but if you want to turn it into syrup you'll need to boil it off. It takes a lot -- about 40 parts sap will become 1 part syrup. (Image via Putting Up With the Turnbulls)
DIY Maple Evaporator You can do the boiling in your own kitchen, but odds are you don't have enough space, and the amount of steam it kicks off can peel wallpaper. Make your own evaporator outside and boil off in big batches. Here's how. (Image via From Scratch Club)
Great, so you've got your homemade maple syrup. Now what do you do with it? Here's a few of our favorite ideas:
Maple Cream A little heating, cooling, and stirring turns maple syrup into a creamy spread that's great on toast, in frosting, or right off a spoon. (Image via Petite Kitchenesse)
Maple Snow Taffy This delicious pioneer candy from Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House in the Big Woods" is a snap to make - just follow this step-by-step pictorial guide from a neo-pioneer Wisconsin kitchen. (Image via Girl's Guide to Guns and Butter)
Graple Syrup Everyone loves maple syrup, but for a bit of a twist, cook down some grape juice to a syrup and combine them to make graple syrup. Delish! (Image via Local Kitchen)