Here are some links that I have found to be helpful about the syrupmaking process and other syrup issues.
1) There are two websites I recommend if you have questions about this hobby. An extensive website available to syrupmakers nationwide is www.mapletrader.com . Plan on spending some time here searching their numerous topics related to syrupmaking; everything from tree identification to swapping used equipment to bottling and selling syrup. Even the most basic questions are answered politely by syrupmakers and occasionally by a Vermont forestry professor. If you scroll down in the main website, you will find a blogsite for each producing state in the current producing season, Missouri included. There is a facebook site for our state www.facebook.com/groups/MissouriMapleSyrup/ run by James Brochtrup near Festus MO where you can exchange information with other producers, some of whom may be in your area. This website has a lively exchange during syrup season and will be a great forum for communicating about any syrupmaker meetings. Keep in mind that most viewing and posting at these websites is done during sap flow season. It costs nothing to read and post.
2) A good article about the physics of sap flow, sap quality and various tree factors appeared in the "Botanist in the Kitchen" site.
3) A collaboration of the University of Vermont, Ohio State University, and Michigan State University is the North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual. A huge document that is very complete and technical.
4) There are numerous suppliers of maple syrup equipment; naturally they are concentrated in northeastern states and the upper midwest. Their inclusion on this website is not a recommendation; however, I have had satisfactory service from these. I prefer dealing with a business in the midwest rather than the northeast or Canada.
RothSugarbush of Cadott Wisconsin, complete line of supplies.
Sugarbush Supplies of Mason, MIchigan, complete line of supplies.
Silver Creek Maple Equipment of Huntington, Indiana, maker of reasonably priced stainless steel evaporator pans that might serve a small beginning hobbyist. Their small pan might be a good next step for the beginner who wants to graduate from using steam table trays. Their pans can be placed on concrete blocks with a flue (similar to the photo in the "FOR BEGINNERS" page) to make an evaporator with a reasonable boiling capacity.
Perhaps you know of someone in Missouri who can fabricate with stainless steel.
You can do your own internet search to find other suppliers. It also may be of use to look on Craigslist in various cities in Minnesota or Wisconsin; used equipment can sometimes be found. Hopefully in the future we in Missouri will have a robust network of producers from whom you could obtain used equipment.
5) YouTube has many videos about syrupmaking and some offer clever tips and ideas, most of them from norhteastern states or Canada. However, some have poor sound quality or production value, slow moving scenes, or contain information that is misleading or wrong. To save you some time, I have identified some of the better videos that contain good information for a beginner and will keep your interest.
Making Maple Syrup at Home (start to finish) by GoldShaw Farm, 10 min.
How to make Maple Syrup Everything you Need to Know by Outsider, 27 min. This file has good narrated images but can be rather slow moving. My comments on this video are: a) don't drill more than 1 to 1.5" into the light-colored sapwood. b) try not to boil in round pots; smoke and soot can accumulate around the pot and lots of heat from a flame is wasted. It is better to boil sap in a vessel where all the flame can contact the vessel, and smoke is directed up through a flue.
How to Tap your Maple Trees (the right way) by WT Farm Girl, 21 min. My comment: occasionally slow moving but has good information. I also noticed that she pounds the spiles into the tree with great effort; they should just be tapped in with a hammer until they are snug. (That's why they are called taps, not pounds.) Eventually she will have to remove that spile at the end of the season.
How to Make Syrup/Black Walnut Syrup Tastes Better by Deborah and Michael, 15 min. This video was made in another state; I include this video because Missouri has extensive walnut tree resources.
University of Vermont (UVM Extension) has significant commercial interest in their maple industry and has produced numerous YouTube videos on various topics; you can find them easily.
6) In addition to having better flavor characteristics than commercial pancake syrup, maple syrup offers some nutritional benefits. Here are some links to discussions of syrup nutrition and chemistry
7) Nice articles from University of Missouri's publications about syrupmaking https://baskett.missouri.edu/2017/08/maple-syrup/
8) An article about sugarbush management by Hank Stelzer of the University of Missouri Extension.
9) For the serious producer, there is a monthly industry periodical, the Maple News. https://www.themaplenews.com/
10) A way to use a turkey fryer to boil sap (but keep in mind you will be making very expensive syrup due to the cost of propane) https://practicalmechanic.com/2019/04/08/making-maple-syrup-how-to-boil-sap-for-maple-syrup/
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