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Thread: Recommendations needed!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Elkhart, IN
    Posts
    6

    Default Recommendations needed!

    Relative newbie here. Had a few taps boiling on stove for a couple years. Syrup has been tasty and it's fun activity with kids.

    In northern IN our season is usually end of Feb early March. Looks like our weather will get above freezing the next few days, then get cold again. If I tap now, will I need to take taps out and redrill?
    Also, I'd be happy for advice on cheap equipment to expand. I'm thinking about hydrometer and filter based on other posts. Have been using those smaller plastic spiles with tube on them into plastic buckets but not sure they can last multiple seasons. Last year I washed them but felt doubtful. To complicate things some of my trees don't have a good place to put bucket on ground. Thinking about plastic bags. Or maybe old school hanging buckets but those look real expensive. Have never tapped all possible trees. We collect by hand with a kid's wagon and pails.

    At work: Have about 10-15 sugar maples, some big enough for 2 taps, with a place to boil under vent hood. Have a lot of Norway's there too but not convinced about tapping them.

    At home: 3 mi from work we have about 20 silvers also with some big enough for multiple taps. This is flood plain forest so the ground is pretty wet in places with standing water (well ice right now).

    Interested in advice about sap storage. Have some food grade barrels, but wonder how long the sap can keep in there when it's above freezing. We've just boiled small amounts at a time but if we have more taps storage becomes a thing. There is a walk in fridge at work but we can't use it all for sap lol.

    Bottom line, this is a total hobby, and I don't want to blow money. But would be nice to maximize the syrup production.

    Sent from my XT1034 using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    West Central Indiana
    Posts
    8

    Default

    I am just a hobbyist as well. I have 2 20 gal white food grade storage containers that I got from a restaurant supply store (Zesco, Indianapolis). I needed a few more quick last year so I got a couple of the 32 gal grey brute trash cans from Home Depot, they have the NSF (food grade) stamp on them. Some people are ok using them some are not so you have to make your own decision. I have successfully kept sap for up to a week, it really just depends on temps, the warmer it gets the faster it will spoil. I have frozen jugs of sap to make ice cubes to help keep it cold once. Sometimes I will put my storage containers out at night to get cold and bring them inside (unheated) during the day to prevent them from warming as much. They say when the sap gets cloudy that it has gone bad. I have used some sap that just barely started to get cloudy and it turned out fine, but I don't sell any, it is for personal use only.

    It is recommended that you use new taps every year, but I have re-used mine before, but never more than 2 years. I use the plastic taps and hang 1 gallon plastic milk jugs from them. I drill the lids to fit the tube thru and it keeps them clean from debris and bugs.

    Hope this helps

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Cumberland, KY
    Posts
    35

    Default

    IMG_0111.jpg Here is my method of sap collection. I use a 5/16" plastic tree saver spile, that is used one year only due to possible bacteria, a short piece of tubing, and the 1 gallon water jug is hung by a wire from the spile to the jug. It works great for me. Happy sugaring.
    Jeremy Williams
    "In the deep dark hills
    of Eastern Kentucky."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    381

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by urbansap View Post
    If I tap now, will I need to take taps out and redrill?
    No. When you tap, you tap for the season. No second hole. That's why people put so much angst into deciding when to tap. Drill too soon and your taps will be drying up when the good later runs happen. Drill too late and you'll miss out completely on good early runs. But dDrilling more than once into a tree in a season is just like drilling two holes in a tree that can take one. It's a no-no, and over time will kill the tree.
    2016: First year. Homemade evaporator out of little woodburning stove with steam tray pans. 6 taps on buckets. 1.1 galls syrup
    2017: Same little homemade evaporator, but souped up. Still 2 steam tray pans. 15 taps on buckets. 4.5 galls syrup.
    2018: Same setup. Limited time (New baby!) Downsized to 12 taps and short season. 2.2 gallons syrup.
    2019: Still very limited time, with a one-year-old. Downsized even further to 7 taps and a short season. 1.8 gallons syrup
    2020: 9 taps

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Elkhart, IN
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by berkshires View Post
    No. When you tap, you tap for the season. No second hole. That's why people put so much angst into deciding when to tap. Drill too soon and your taps will be drying up when the good later runs happen. Drill too late and you'll miss out completely on good early runs. But dDrilling more than once into a tree in a season is just like drilling two holes in a tree that can take one. It's a no-no, and over time will kill the tree.
    This is really helpful! Thanks. I'm thinking about splitting the difference, trying earlier in some trees and later in others! Now I understand better the angst about when to tap.

    Sent from my XT1034 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Elkhart, IN
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BrierPatch View Post
    I am just a hobbyist as well. I have 2 20 gal white food grade storage containers that I got from a restaurant supply store (Zesco, Indianapolis). I needed a few more quick last year so I got a couple of the 32 gal grey brute trash cans from Home Depot, they have the NSF (food grade) stamp on them. Some people are ok using them some are not so you have to make your own decision. I have successfully kept sap for up to a week, it really just depends on temps, the warmer it gets the faster it will spoil. I have frozen jugs of sap to make ice cubes to help keep it cold once. Sometimes I will put my storage containers out at night to get cold and bring them inside (unheated) during the day to prevent them from warming as much. They say when the sap gets cloudy that it has gone bad. I have used some sap that just barely started to get cloudy and it turned out fine, but I don't sell any, it is for personal use only.

    It is recommended that you use new taps every year, but I have re-used mine before, but never more than 2 years. I use the plastic taps and hang 1 gallon plastic milk jugs from them. I drill the lids to fit the tube thru and it keeps them clean from debris and bugs.

    Hope this helps
    I really appreciate this advice! Now I wish I'd saved more milk jugs in the last year. Time for a call out to local friends. I like the sap storage idea with ice and knowing when it's no good. I have 3 20 gallon food grade plastic barrels and a smaller chest freezer rigged as a fridge that's currently empty. I think it's time to order some new taps. Thanks and happy sugaring!

    Sent from my XT1034 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Elkhart, IN
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jnwill0 View Post
    Attachment 17111 Here is my method of sap collection. I use a 5/16" plastic tree saver spile, that is used one year only due to possible bacteria, a short piece of tubing, and the 1 gallon water jug is hung by a wire from the spile to the jug. It works great for me. Happy sugaring.
    Awesome! I like it. Now I need to collect some jugs!

    Sent from my XT1034 using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    10,341

    Default

    My first year I went to a Chinese Restaurant and got a bunch of 5 gal cooking oil jugs. I got 3-6 jugs each day. They were time consuming to clean, but worked well. To use them I put a hole (heating a rod and melting thru worked better than drilling because a few broke when drilling). Then I ran small tubing systems, of 2-3 taps into each jug. At first I had issues with jugs blowing over and sometimes the line pulling out of the hole in the cap. I solved that by attaching a pinch clamp on the tube under the cap and made the lines just long enough so they held the jug upright. To empty them I used 2 methods. I had several extra jugs, if any jug was over half full I swapped it with an empty one, if less than half full, I dumped it into one I had on a carrier on the back of my tractor. I just unscrewed the cap and carried it to my tractor To dump one I made a custom funnel, it was made out of pvc pipe, the spout was 1.5" (it fit down in the jug and maybe 4-5" long, on top I had a 1.5" x 4" (or maybe it was 3") coupling and a piece of the larger size in the top. On that top piece I used a dremel tool and carved out a slot just big enough to fit the jug neck in. That way I could dump far faster without losing sap. For the jugs that were about half full, I did either way, change or dump depending on which seemed better at the moment. My tractor had a 3 point hitch carry all that I made a box to fit and bolt on. It carried 12 jugs. I then drove the 4x4 tractor out to my SUV and loaded the full jugs into the back. Usually that had serviced all jugs, on high flow days I made a second trip for more.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, doing fewer each year, about 450 planned for 2020 (and after?)
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

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