A few weeks ago I was eating lunch with coworkers and I mentioned the black walnut trees in our yard and how annoying they are. They are like poison to half the plants in our garden. The walnuts, leaves, and especially the roots are toxic to plants like tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, eggplant, and rhubarb. Even though we have raised beds, these plants have not done well in our space. I've heard the trees can be sold at a good price for their wood but that still would not solve the root problem.
So I did a little internet research, and, yes! You can tap black walnut trees and make syrup. It's not common. Maples are far more productive and therefore the best syrup-making option. But you can do it! So I got Nate and Walter on board with this plan and we did a little syrup science experiment.
We tapped 4 trees and collected sap for about 2 weeks, which gave us around 3 gallons of sap. Nate rigged up a little cooktop in our fire pit with some stones and a grill grate. We all tended the fire, using up lots of branches and sticks that had fallen over the winter.
It took about 4 hours to boil those 3 gallons of sap down to about 1 cup of syrup. I know what you're thinking. All that for one cup of syrup? Well... yeah! It was a fun experiment and a tasty one too. It's very different from the flavor of maple syrup. A little less sweet, I think, and a little nutty.
We made waffles for dinner after our sap boil. The plates were licked clean. And the black walnut trees are now just a little less annoying.