Maple Syrup

By Dan Benoit
St. Norbert Parish, La Barrière Metis Council
When daytime temperatures are above freezing and night time temperatures are just
below freezing, choose a Manitoba Maple tree that is at least eight inches in diameter at
chest height. The flow season will very two to three weeks but usually falls in March.
Drill a 7/16th inch hole at a slight angle upward and put your tap in. Not hard, otherwise it
will crack at night. The pail hangs underneath and should be emptied daily as you could
get over a gallon of sap per day.
Then you boil the syrup being careful not to burn. At first boiling will be rapid with big
bursting bubbles. When it gets close to becoming maple syrup, the bubbles will be very
tiny with a bronze-like color. The ratio is 40 containers sap to 1 container maple syrup. To
avoid damaging the trees, pull the taps out and don’t tap the same tree next year.
Editors note:
The Metis people made vinegar from Maple sap. Alexander Henry the Younger reported
in his journal [Vol I, p. 225] on September 19, 1804: “Made a nine gallon keg of
[cucumber] pickles, having plenty of excellent vinegar from maple sap, little inferior to
that imported.” The Metis will soak wild meat in a mixture of vinegar and water (four
cups water to one cup vinegar) to remove the wild taste.

Compiled and Edited by Lawrence Barkwell
Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research
Louis Riel Institute

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