How to make homemade syrup from tree to table

Step aside, Hungry Jack!

Wesselman Woods is one of the best things Evansville has to offer. It is one of the nation’s largest old-growth forests that has not experienced a timber harvest in the last 200 years.

One of their most popular events is the annual Maple Sugarbush Festival. Each year they tap their Sugar Bush trees for sap and boil it down to syrup.

Homemade syrup
The Maple Sugar Shack is where the sap is boiled down to syrup. If you go this time of year, be sure to walk by the Maple Sugar Shack to smell the sweet sugar boiling!

Find out how they do it in the video above. In the video, you’ll meet their Environmental Educator Kailene Goldsberry and she’ll tell you how to do it step-by-step. They recommend going online to find your supplies for tapping the trees as you can’t normally find what you need at local hardware stores. She also recommends you be fully committed to this process if you want to make homemade syrup. The process is a lengthy one, but the payoff is golden!

You’ll also meet Lee Anne Bruner in the video. She has been Wesselman Woods for over 40 years! She’s pretty much a syrup expert.

After the syrup is made, Wesselman Woods bottles the golden goodness and sells their homemade syrup as they are a 501c3 nonprofit. All the money goes back to their efforts at Wesselman Woods.

Normally they have a big pancake breakfast to really celebrate their sap-giving trees, but this year that part of the festival is not happening due to the pandemic.

They’re still bottling syrup and celebrating, however. There will still be yummy syrup for sale for the 43rd annual Maple Sugarbush festival. They are also offering guided hikes to show off their sugarbush trees. They will also offer interactive and informative self-guided hikes for visitors.

They ask that all visitors wear masks inside the Nature Center, during guided hikes, and they encourage visitors to wear masks as they hike the trails as well. It is so cold out, you’ll want to wear a mask anyways!

Admission into Wesselman Woods is $5 for adults and $3 for children 3-12 years old. Children 3 and younger are free. You could also become a member and enjoy free admission all year long.

Click here to learn more about Wesselman Woods.

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