Antique taps, drying on a dishrag.
After you are finished making maple syrup for the year it is important to remove your taps from your trees so that the trees can heal between sugaring seasons. Then it is time to clean and store your equipment.
To remove taps, gently tap with a hammer from a few different directions, then gently wriggle out of the tree.
You can easily clean your taps for storage by boiling them in water and setting them on a dishtowel to dry. Sap buckets can simply be rinsed and stacked to dry.
Buckets stacked to dry.
Your sugaring pan is likely to have cook marks ranging from brown to black. This is burned-on sugar. It can be removed by filling the vessel with a weak baking soda water solution (3 tablespoons of soda per 5 gallons of water), boiling the solution in the pan for 30 minutes and leaving it to cool for several hours or overnight. The cook marks should wipe or flake off easily with a soft rag. Do not use abrasives, detergents or harsh chemicals to clean your taps, buckets or sugaring pan.
Rinse, ring and hang your filters to dry. For tenacious gunk, you may choose to boil your filters for 15 minutes and let cool before wringing and drying. Do not use anything other than water to clean your filters, including detergents.
Store your tools and equipment in a dry place. A barn or garage will work fine for everything but the filters, which mice can and do ruin. And try not to despair! When sugaring season is over, spring is on its way.
After sugaring season, comes the green of spring.