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Thread: Fully frozen sap-cubes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
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    Default Fully frozen sap-cubes

    So this is my third year, and this year I've run into a new (to me) problem. Every time I have time to boil, the sap in my buckets (I'm all buckets) is frozen solid. I tried bringing them in overnight the night before boiling, but that barely did anything. We're talking 2 gallons plus of solid ice in each bucket. I hate to just throw giant ice cubes on my evaporator, but I keep waiting for them to melt at least 50% (I would save the melt, and toss the remaining ice). But after waiting about a month, it's just not happening. Instead, every time there's a warm day, the new sap just drips onto the big ice cube in the bucket, and then freezes into a bigger ice cube by morning. Very frustrating!

    What to do?

    Gabe
    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, so downsized to 12 taps. New baby!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Boston Metro West MA
    Posts
    106

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by berkshires View Post
    So this is my third year, and this year I've run into a new (to me) problem. Every time I have time to boil, the sap in my buckets (I'm all buckets) is frozen solid. I tried bringing them in overnight the night before boiling, but that barely did anything. We're talking 2 gallons plus of solid ice in each bucket. I hate to just throw giant ice cubes on my evaporator, but I keep waiting for them to melt at least 50% (I would save the melt, and toss the remaining ice). But after waiting about a month, it's just not happening. Instead, every time there's a warm day, the new sap just drips onto the big ice cube in the bucket, and then freezes into a bigger ice cube by morning. Very frustrating!

    What to do?
    R
    Gabe
    I'm only buckets -- well, milk jugs, too. I'm not yet tapped this season, but in the past I've on occasion had 2-3" inches frozen in my buckets, and some of the jugs frozen halfway. Generally, I managed to be able to transfer to my 5 gallon storage after a few days.

    When I intentionally froze sap, to keep it long enough for a batch boil, I found it took a good 48 hours to fully defrost when left inside. I only have frozen in flat rubbermade rectangles (roughly 9x13 sized, some 3" or 6" deep.)

    I wonder since your limited on time, and have a manageable number of taps, if you could swap out the frozen buckets for some milk, or water, or something, jugs. Bring the frozen buckets indoors. One they are loose enough, combine into one or two buckets and let that continue melting, while you replace the others on your taps. You could also help loosen the ice blocks from the sides by placing the buckets into a larger container filled with water... just like defrosting a turkey.

    Good luck.
    ~Janet

    2017 - same barrel and windscreen. Added bouncy house blower AUF. 15 taps
    2016 - 55 gal barrel evaporator - new windscreen. 9 trees, 12 taps.
    2015 - 55 gal barrel evaporator. 7 trees, 9 taps. 2.5 quarts finished
    2014 - 55 gal barrel evaporator. 3 trees. 3 taps. 1 great helper. Lessons learned... Wind blown tarps melt on a hot stack. Stack without guy-wires can tip over (when hot, makes for some excitement.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
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    Default

    Getting the cubes out of the buckets isn't so much the problem. The first time I went to try to boil, I decided I'd just dump all the cubes into a big 50 gallon barrel and come back to boil after they'd defrosted a bit. Well two weeks later I had about an inch and a half of sugar-water-ice in the bottom of the tote (maybe one or two gallons max) and aside from that all the cubes were still sitting there unchanged.

    I think what I might just have to do is bring the cubes into the house and defrost them in big pots on the stove, then boil the next day. Ugh, what a pain.

    GO
    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, so downsized to 12 taps. New baby!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    hills west of Jeff City Missouri
    Posts
    68

    Default

    you might check other posts on maple trader about collecting sap with ice in it. ice on top generally has much less sugar than the sap- some folks throw it away. but if all the sap is frozen in a bucket, you have to boil it all. john
    2018: 195 trees, most smaller than 20" diameter
    5/16" & 7/16" plastic spiles, drain into plastic buckets or sapsaks
    xfer to 5 gal plastic jugs
    haul jugs out using atv & trailer
    wood-fired pans on concrete blocks
    one Leader Half Pint 24 x 33" plus 24 x 30 ss pan from a junkyard
    cook batch process then finish in the kitchen;
    we dont sell our syrup; its for family & friends

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    chester, ma
    Posts
    243

    Default

    Today, tomorrow, and Friday all look warm(ish). So hopefully that'll be long enough to do something to the cubes. I'm going to drive to the sugarbush Friday night, pour all the buckets into a barrel and store it inside overnight. I'll also check on the big cubes of ice I have in the barrel now, bring that inside, and just generally hope things are a bit defrosted. I think I'd better get there Friday night though, because overnight Fri - Sat it's supposed to drop into the teens.
    Last edited by berkshires; 02-14-2018 at 03:28 PM. Reason: Clarify which days
    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, so downsized to 12 taps. New baby!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Cape Girardeau, MO
    Posts
    101

    Default

    Some time just the luck of the weather. You may just have to put that ice in you pans and start cooking form there instead all the waiting.
    2012 200 taps on buckets,,, Built me a 2' X 11' arch,,, hope to put most on tubing next year.

    2011 100 taps on buckets, 30x 60 flat pan

    2009 63 taps on buckets,,,, 30x60 flat pan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    sugar island wi
    Posts
    5

    Default

    To avoid that problem we collect at the end of the day,usually they slow down or stop soon after.Dont know if thats possible in your case.Sap then freezes in my pan overnite.No problem when ready to fire it justs melts.We have a 250 gallon pan in the woods we get close to syrup with then finish in a machine shed 40 gallon pan.

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