Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sugaring, pt. 2

Firing up the arch.

The evaporator.

Sap flowing into the larger pan of the evaporator.

Once the fire gets going and the sap starts to boil things get a bit steamy.

Skimming off foam and impurities.

Draining boiled sap for the finishing pan.

Sap well on its way to becoming syrup in the finishing pan.

The finished product, bottled and ready for use.

The sap has started to flow and we're getting enough to make some syrup. The basic process is fairly simple: bring sap to a boil to get rid of excess water and concentrate the sugar. In practice it means paying close attention to a number of details, such as keeping the fire at a constant temperature and keeping the sugar within an acceptable level, somewhere around 66%. The whole process remains a bit of mystery to me as I've been too busy learning where all the various buckets are and trying to collect in as efficient a manner as possible with a team of students and other workers and volunteers. The weather has been a bit on the wet side, which means that a lot of the snow has melted, but has also made some of the roads in to some areas muddy morasses. Today we produced 115 gallons of syrup, which is something of a record (thanks in large part to the reverse osmosis machine which extracts a good amount of H20 before boiling). Hope to get some photos of the collecting process and the lines and vacuum pumps that are in place.


mary said...

115 gallons, sounds like a lot of work, and you had a lot of help. Very interesting process!

alford said...

Yes, you're right about all the help. We have a group of students and a few alumni helping out. When the sap is flowing all those hands really help with the collecting. Considering all the lousy weather we've been having they've been real troopers. Haven't heard many complaints though. Not a bad way to see spring in.

Quail said...

This just makes me want to pour pancakes and whip butter...