Planning on tapping some walnut trees

(BenSpiritbear) #1

Hoping for some success in about a month or so with tapping some of the walnut trees on the property. I’ve never tapped walnuts before but there is a large grove of them on the property with 40+ large trees in the grove. I’ve tapped maple but never walnut. I’m kind of excited to see how much sap I can collect. I may not need too but there are several on a neighboring property also that I have permission to tap. My plan is to start around the middle of next month. I’ll post an update when I get started. Anyone else tap walnuts before?

(joan underhill) #2

nope, never walnut. only just recently read that they can be tapped. i’ve done silver & sugar maple and birch successfully, have attempted hickory (poorly), and have heard of hickory, sycamore… and others that i can’t remember right now.

(BenSpiritbear) #3

I figure I’ll give it a go since there are several right out my front door.

(Michelle ) #4

No, but I am looking to tap our black walnuts come spring. Very excited. This is the first year I knew walnuts could be tapped. :deciduous_tree:

(Carissa Leroy-Beaulieu) #5

How do you plan on processing what you collect into syrup? And have you ever tasted it before? I just wonder how sweet it would be…

(BenSpiritbear) #6

The sap will need cooked down into a syrup. Walnut doesn’t have as high a sugar content as maple so it takes more sap to make. I’ve read that cooking it down to somewhere between a 20:1 to a 30:1 ratio usually works good and that is has a butterscotch taste.

(Carissa Leroy-Beaulieu) #7

Oh wow. Sounds good! I hope you are able to collect enough sap. How much sap will come from one tree?

(BenSpiritbear) #8

It can vary greatly from tree to tree. You want to make sure the tree is at least 10" in diameter but two trees the same size can give very different amounts. Someone I know collected 3 gallons from 4 trees last year which cooks down to 12-15 oz. I’m hoping with the amount of trees here I can come out pretty good.

(Carissa Leroy-Beaulieu) #9

Interesting. I have some walnut trees on my property but not many big ones. I may eventually try tapping them. What all kinds of trees can be tapped like that?

(joan underhill) #10

a 20 or 30:1 ratio is Awesome. sugar maples are ‘typically’ 30:1, but we’ve seen low sugar years that realistically were more like 50:1. and silver maples are often 40 or 50:1, similar to white birch. i imagine there’s a lot of regional variation & variation per tree as well. so excited to hear how this goes for you :slight_smile:

(BenSpiritbear) #11

I was told the 20:1 is thin but tastes good. I’m shooting for 30:1-40:1.

(Alexander Meander) #12

are you talking about black walnuts (Juglans nigra) @Ragnar?

i have yet to try my hand at tapping trees. a few years ago i got excited about trying out the red maples that are prevalent here, but there is an issue with them, as they are some of the first trees to leaf out. once leaf out takes place the sap is supposed to have an off-flavor. i already knew it would be a very short hit-or-miss tapping season here in the warm temperate areas of NC, but when i heard that i sort of stuck it on the far back burner for winter projects. we have some gargantuan red maples here. perhaps i will give it a shot some day.

back to black walnuts, we do not have any on this land yet large enough yet to give them a shot. they do leaf out pretty late if i recall correctly. i know hickories tend to, and they are in the same family. i also have some butternuts that i planted here. looking forward to giving those a shot.

i’m not especially interested, at least at the start, in making syrup. i want to start drinking the sap as a late winter tonic water, making it a sole water source during the season.

there are a number of trees that can be tapped. one of these days i will get some experience doing it.

would love to be updated as you go :slight_smile:

(Alexander Meander) #13

@Wootwoot, here is a list of trees that can be tapped for syrup with brief overviews. i do not know this site, so cannot vouch for its accuracy, but on a quick scan it looked legit. one genus they do not mention here is Carya, the hickories, which i have heard can be tapped. and that makes since being it is so closely related to the walnuts.

(Carissa Leroy-Beaulieu) #14

Hey thanks!

(BenSpiritbear) #15

@alexandermeander yes, they are black walnut. There are several large ones here. A good sized grove plus a few more spread throughout the property. I’ve only found a few maples so I don’t know that I will try them. There are some hickory’s too. I might try those. I hope to have enough sap for both a tonic and syrup but we shall see. I plan on taking some pictures and posting about it when I get it going. I’m thinking I will probably begin in the next 3-4 weeks depending on the weather.

(Shodo Spring) #16

I’ve tapped black walnut. Had some difficulties. With maples and box elder, you get best results from the big trees. With walnut, none of the big trees produced but I got some sap from the small ones. Only tried once, got 2 pints of syrup, liked it.

I suggest freezing your sap before you boil it. A bit of ice comes off the top, saves time boiling, and of course you save the ice and drink it - must be healthful, right?

(BenSpiritbear) #17

Thank you for the advice. I dont have a lot of maples around me but a lot of black walnuts so I’m hoping for decent results. If anything it will be a fun learning experience. Also spoke with a neighbor down the road and told him what I was doing. He said I am welcome to tap his trees in exchange for a little syrup so I have no shortage of trees.

(Shodo Spring) #18

I’ll be interested in your results. I have a lot of black walnuts but my success was so poor I’m not doing it.

(BenSpiritbear) #19

Well I have started tapping my walnut trees. So far the weather just isn’t working for me to get the best sap flow. The forecast had been perfect for it, low 40’s during the day and mid to high 20’s at night. So I started my taps. A cold front has blown in and the last two days high hasn’t been over 25. Tomorrow it is supposed to be warmer so maybe I will get better flow. I have some more taps to use so I can try more trees. I realize I am using plastic taps and jugs. I had never used this set up and decided I would try it this year. It keeps debris out of the sap. It seems ok and although more modern I do like it. These taps are 5/16" and are supposed to be less stressful on the tree. I will update in a few days with any progress.

(BenSpiritbear) #20

Well do far I have collected approximately 6 gallons of walnut sap that has made roughly 16 oz of syrup. It is really good! I like the flavor better than maple. It is nuttier but not as sweet. I could reduce it down further to make a thicker syrup but I do like the finished product. Its the same color as maple syrup also. I still have taps running so I expect more over the next few days. All in all I am happy with the results even though I wont have but a few jars of finished product, its worth it.