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Thread: Sap spoilage thought...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Massachusetts
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    Default Sap spoilage thought...

    This is day three of my first time ever tapping maples. I tapped 10 red maples here in Central MA. Even though we’ve had freezing days, a couple of them are already starting to run... The bags I am using have a few ounces of sap in them. I expect this to pick up this upcoming week because it will be warmer. But here’s my question…

    I know that you are not supposed to keep sap for very long because of spoilage. But when you empty a bag/bucket/whatever you use to collect sap, there is still some residual sap left over ...into which new SAP collects. Doesn’t that “old” left over SAP increase the spoilage rate of subsequent collections? am I overthinking this?

    Also, a bonus second question if I may… How long do you give a tree to start producing before you pull the tap and go onto another?

    Thank you!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    MA
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    I have wondered the same thing because the residual sap in a bucket seems like it would inoculate the incoming sap with bacteria. That is why keeping sap as cold as possible and boiling as quickly as possible are paramount for producing a quality product.

    With regard to the bonus question, I would have tapped all trees to begin with....
    55ish taps on buckets
    D&G Sportsman 18x63
    RB15 RO Bucket
    Stihl 044 and 026

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Wakefield,New Hampshire
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    Good question! If the daytime temps are too cold and the sap isn't running for a few days, then it's safe to say the residual sap in the container isn't spoiling. But the sun can make things complicated, especially in clear collection containers. Likely that little bit of sap will turn to ice if it's cold enough and may be easier to remove than trying to drip dry those bags when its's thawed. I suggest getting as much of the sap out at the time of collection and not to worry too much about it. You could possibly carry around some water and rinse the bags after you empty the sap.

    As for your second question. Do you mean move onto a new tree or moving on to putting another tap in the same tree?
    6th season solo sugar maker in a young sugar bush of mostly red maples
    260 taps
    2x6 self built arch, Flat pans w/ dividers
    New 12x16 sugar house

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    The small amount of residual sap is fine. If there is a long warm spell between runs and just a little in the bags/buckets, dump it out just before it looks like it's going to freeze again.

    Trees on gravity spouts are good for 4-6 weeks depending upon the weather. Do you mean go on to another tree, or another taphole in the same trees. The former is fine if you have enough trees. The latter is not a recommended practice unless the trees are large enough to support a second spout.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  5. #5
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    Apr 2019
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    Massachusetts
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    Thank you all for the replies!

    For the second question, I simply meant to ask how long I should wait for a tree to start producing before I give up on that tree and move to another? One of the trees I tapped looks like it’s on its way out. So I figured, “why not?“ i’ll give it a few more days I suppose…

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Connecticut
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    Bonus Question answer - Trees are people too! Maybe they are just having a bad day!

    I would not pull a tap just to tap a different tree. Make sure you tapped correctly, didn't pound the taps in too hard, got nice clean wood when you drilled, picked healthy looking trees. The only reason you might want to move the tap (take it off one tree and put it on another) is if you didn't do a good job tapping, or only have X number of taps and you don't want to buy anymore at the moment.
    2017 - 20ish taps on buckets, boiling outside in two baking pans
    2018 - 70+ taps, 14-buckets, 50+ on tubing, homemade arch from oil tank in my barn, 17 gal syrup
    2019 - same set up, 20 gal syrup
    2020 - less taps, short season, but RO kit was fantastic! 6 gal syrup and a maple cat!
    2021 - planning on expanding to 50 taps on buckets and 40 taps on tubing - goal = 10 gal of syrup

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Nashville, MI
    Posts
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    Just some more knowledge I have learned is that some taps don't always run the same as other trees Just give that spot a little time. It may come around if not, it may be a bad spot for the tap and you may have to move it over and up or down..
    2004 - 2012 2x3 flat pan 25 to 60 taps
    2012 2x3 new divided pan w/draw off 55 taps
    2018 - didn't boil surgery - bought new evaporator
    2019 new SML 2x4 raised flue high output evap. 65 taps
    made 17 gal syrup
    2020 - only put out 53 taps - made 16.25 gal syrup
    2021 - going for 50 bags and 50 on tubing

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Savoy, MA
    Posts
    345

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamina View Post
    Thank you all for the replies!

    For the second question, I simply meant to ask how long I should wait for a tree to start producing before I give up on that tree and move to another? …
    Still not sure if that's clear? Haven't you tapped all your trees at once? Not sure what you mean by "move on to another?"

    Good luck this year.
    16x24 Timber Frame Sugar House
    Mason 2x4 Evaporator
    90 trees on buckets

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