Weather Wednesday: Science behind maple syrup tapping

Weather Wednesday

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Long before the bottle hits your breakfast table, maple syrup is controlled by the weather. Whether the tapper uses buckets or tubes, the sap’s flow depends on the forecast.

Months before the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival in April, local tappers are putting in long hours towards the end of winter. Benedict Family Maple LLC. of Vermontville usually taps trees around President’s Day. However, this year’s arctic outbreak delayed the tapping process by roughly two weeks.

Temperature is one of the main factors for sap flow. Brian Benedict says highs in the upper 30s to 40s with overnight lows at or below 28 degrees are ideal for sap flow. The pressure in the atmosphere can also affect flow. In high pressure, which brings fair weather, the flow is better. The flow in stormy weather during low pressure is not ideal.

The color and taste are affected by the temperature. In cold air, the syrup tends to be lighter and has a light taste. The darker syrup is when more sugar is worked into the sap from warmer temperatures. A safe form of bacteria is also present in the sugars of maple syrup but is not harmful for consumption.

For more information about how weather affects maple syrup tapping, check out the video above.

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