Archive | March, 2010

Let’s Have Some Fun- How To Make Maple Syrup!

18 Mar

There are many variables to consider when attempting to make maple syrup. From what kind of tree to tap, to working with sap, this step-by-step guide will teach you how to make your very own maple syrup!


Select a suitable tree. Any trees in the maple family (sugar, silver, red, or box elder) are all acceptable choices, as well as walnut, hickories, sycamore, and sweet birch. Trees should measure at least 1.5 feet in diameter and should be well exposed to the sun.

Weather conditions greatly dictate the flow of sap. Sap flow will generally begin after a bout of cold weather (long freeze)- followed by several warmer, sunny days. The flow lasts from three to four weeks and is strongest in the afternoon.

 Tapping the Tree:

Drill the tapping hole three feet from the ground and about 1.5 to 2 inches deep into the trunk on the sunniest side of the tree. Drill the hole slightly upward so that gravity will help the sap run out. Avoid drilling directly below a limb. Standard drills are used, although drill bit size may vary.

Your chosen spile (spout) size will determine the size of the hole that you will need to drill into the tree. (Commercial spiles require 3/8” drill bit) Shavings from the drilling process should appear damp if the sap is flowing in the tree.

After drilling, insert the spile into the tree with the hook facing toward the spout. Tap the spile into the hole firmly. Hang a bucket from the hook (your bucket must have a hole to accept the hook). Make sure that the bucket is covered in order to avoid rain or other unwanted materials from entering the sap. Remove spile and bucket after the tapping season is over- because copper is poisonous to the tree if left in.

 Making Syrup:

You will need to check the bucket at least daily, and during heavy flow, possibly several times a day.

All sap collected should be boiled as soon as possible (or it will spoil) in a wide, shallow pan. Sap should be boiled in an outdoor environment, such as an outdoor gas range or outdoor fire place. Boiling sap produces a great deal of steam. This is a trial and error process. Temperatures and measurements are unknown due to the large variation in each situation.

Sap will boil over the edge of the pan if too much is being boiled at once, and will burn if too little is being boiled. Adding sap to the boiled down syrup is ideal and will help keep it from burning. Boiling sap should be constantly monitored and watched over carefully.

Sap becomes finished maple syrup when it reaches 66-67 percent sugar content and boils at around 220 degrees F. Syrup should be placed in containers while hot, but then stored in a cool, dry place.

Enjoy your maple syrup over a large stack of pancakes or some delicious waffles!
Mmm… sweet!

Thank you to:

David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D.,
Professor of Biology and Chemistry
University of Cincinnati Clermont College,

for his research and detailed description of how to make maple syrup.

Diba Jimooyung, “Telling Our Story”

8 Mar

The name of our people, Anishinabe, means “first man lowered from above and placed on the Earth”. The Anishinabek (plural) are descendents of this original man.

 Who we are, and our origins are very unique. We have our own Creation story. Many Anishinabek believe that the Creator placed us in North America near the Great Salt Water (East Coast). We established societies and family structures with our own language and spiritual beliefs. Many Anishinabek believe that we were given Seven Prophecies from the Creator. These Prophecies were foretold many generations before European contact. These Seven Prophecies will always guide the future of the Anishinabek

Take a journey with us through the Diba Jimooyung (Telling Our Story) permanent exhibit and discover the Prophecies. Let us share with you the story of our ancestors and how we got to where we are today. 

The Ziibiwing Center is open Monday thru Saturday 10am-6pm. For $6.50 per person, you can see it all!

 For more information on Museum rates and group information please visit:

 You can also check us out on Facebook!