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Thread: Aluminum evaporator pan?

  1. #11
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    If aluminum was a good pan choice and less expensive than stainless there would be pans already out there and available. I am not aware of any aluminum pans being made for whatever reason so I would shy away from using it.
    Smoky Lake 2x6 dropflu pans and hoods on homemade arch
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by saphead View Post
    Aluminum is a neurotoxin and shouldn't be used in any type of food processing !!
    Neurotoxin is a big word and relatively meaningless by itself and should be put into perspective rather then just randomly used as a "fear" word.

    A neurotoxin is a substance that destroys or corrupts nervous tissues. Although we try to frequently pretend otherwise, Alcohol ( the kind we are allowed by law to drink for our own fun and enjoyment is a classified Neurotoxin ) But it should be because the evidence is overwhelming that it destroys and corrupts nervous tissues. Prohibition, while it was far more crazy, was designed to prevent things like the "Affordable Care Act", more so then anything else.

    The effects of neurotoxins in aluminum getting into food and into the human body are far more ambiguous. There is absolutely no evidence at all that shows aluminum causes Alzheimers and unfortunately ( wish it were otherwise ) none that shows maple syrup cures Alzheimers.

    The melting point of aluminum is about 200 degrees lower then steel so I would save the aluminum for making a metal roof over one of your collection barrels and get some good stainless steel for a evaporating pan.

    Cheers ...

    to a "little bit" of some Fresh Maple Syrup.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar Bear View Post
    Neurotoxin is a big word and relatively meaningless by itself and should be put into perspective rather then just randomly used as a "fear" word.

    A neurotoxin is a substance that destroys or corrupts nervous tissues. Although we try to frequently pretend otherwise, Alcohol ( the kind we are allowed by law to drink for our own fun and enjoyment is a classified Neurotoxin ) But it should be because the evidence is overwhelming that it destroys and corrupts nervous tissues. Prohibition, while it was far more crazy, was designed to prevent things like the "Affordable Care Act", more so then anything else.

    The effects of neurotoxins in aluminum getting into food and into the human body are far more ambiguous. There is absolutely no evidence at all that shows aluminum causes Alzheimers and unfortunately ( wish it were otherwise ) none that shows maple syrup cures Alzheimers.

    The melting point of aluminum is about 200 degrees lower then steel so I would save the aluminum for making a metal roof over one of your collection barrels and get some good stainless steel for a evaporating pan.

    Cheers ...

    to a "little bit" of some Fresh Maple Syrup.
    Well said Sugar Bear.
    Sugaring for 45+ years
    New Sugarhouse 14'x32'
    New to Me Algier 2'x8' wood fired evaporator
    225 Sugar Maples Currently,(105 on 3/16" and 110 on Shurflo 4008 vacuum, 10 gravity), (16,000 before being disabled)
    1947 Farmall H and Wagon with gathering tank
    2012 Kubota with forks to move wood around

  4. #14
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    The whole issue of aluminum being a nueutotoxin is a red herring. The fact is that aluminum, unlike stainless, very quickly oxidizes, forming a thin surface on the pan. Boiling something acidic (especially for hours and hours!) leaches this aluminum off the surface. You can taste it, and you can see it, if you're cooking something light colored. I once accidentally boiled chick-peas for a long time in an aluminum pot, and they came out grey and tasting metallic. But I've tasted it in tomato sauce too. I sure don't want this in my syrup, and I don't think anyone else does either.

    Here's a link, if you're curious to start learning more: https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how...-cookware-safe

    Cheers,

    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 (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. 2.1 gallons syrup

  5. #15
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    Aluminum was approved for only very limited uses (filter support...essentially non-contact uses) in maple sap collection and processing during a review of construction materials by a maple industry study group in the early-2000s (which arose out of the lead crisis). As I recall, it was universally rejected by maple manufacturers at that time as unsuitable for contact with sap/syrup. I agreed with that conclusion at the time, and agree with that recommendation still, primarily because, as Gabe suggests, it can cause a metallic off-flavor in syrup. Seems to be something you'd want to avoid.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  6. #16
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    We boiled on large, homemade aluminum pans for years with great success. If there were any disadvantages, we didn't notice.

    People routinely cook in aluminum cookware. I think the evidence that it is harmful is weak. I think extremely few, if any, could taste the difference in syrup in a blind taste test.

    We now boil in Amish stainless pans, made with lead-free solder. I looked it up, the melting point of solder is about 361 degrees, and the melting point of aluminum is 1,221 degrees.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTimPerkins View Post
    Aluminum was approved for only very limited uses (filter support...essentially non-contact uses) in maple sap collection and processing during a review of construction materials by a maple industry study group in the early-2000s (which arose out of the lead crisis). As I recall, it was universally rejected by maple manufacturers at that time as unsuitable for contact with sap/syrup. I agreed with that conclusion at the time, and agree with that recommendation still, primarily because, as Gabe suggests, it can cause a metallic off-flavor in syrup. Seems to be something you'd want to avoid.
    Interesting. I have some aluminum buckets that came with the evaporator I bought. I had thought that sap contact with aluminum would be preferred to galvanized steel. Is this not the case as far as the industry is concerned?
    55ish taps
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecolbeck View Post
    Interesting. I have some aluminum buckets that came with the evaporator I bought. I had thought that sap contact with aluminum would be preferred to galvanized steel. Is this not the case as far as the industry is concerned?
    Galvanized steel was on the "Unacceptable" list for buckets. Aluminum is listed as "OK = Acceptable" for spouts and buckets. Note that this is for new construction. There are certainly lots of galvanized steel buckets out there. It is a material that is generally not used in food manufacturing equipment these days, although you might occasionally find a few things made with it.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by buck3m View Post
    People routinely cook in aluminum cookware. I think the evidence that it is harmful is weak.
    I agree. Aluminum is used fairly commonly for cookware, but it is not recommended for acidic foods due to the possible off-flavor issues. I agree also that the evidence aluminum is harmful is not strong....unless it's an aluminum bat contacting your head perhaps.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  10. #20
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    I know there are a lot of people a whole lot smarter then me, on this forum. I did have dinner the other night ( thanks to my wife who is a chemical engineer graduate from Yale ) with a lead engineer for the design and implementation of the escape capsule for the soon to be crew of 4 that will soon fly on the Orion space Vehicle.

    So through regular osmosis from my wife's college friends and maple trader I am able to acquire a bit of good practice.

    We want to choose steel for our evaporation pans over aluminum, ESPECIALLY on the homemade arches ... 24 x 7 x 365 and 366 on leap years. Don't brain cramp it.

    As for other uses of the Aluminum ... it works well enough for me as a heat shield. I use a 4 by 4 sheet of it between the spruce/hemlock siding on the back wall of my sugar shack and my smoke stack. There was only about a 2 inch gap there between the stack and siding and "flame on" was a perpetual threat until I placed the 4 x 4 sheet between the two and up against the wood siding. The aluminum quickly disperses ( like a cooling fin ) the heat outward away from the closest contact point with the heat coming off the stack. It thereby reduces the risk of "Flame On" with the wood siding to near 0 as far as 3 years of "research" have shown. VERY EFFECTIVE!

    Key detail : Notice I said the aluminum went against the siding and does not contact the stack directly.

    I also using another sheet of aluminum for a roof over a collection barrel with bungs that are subject to seepage with rainfall.

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