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Thread: collecting sap!

  1. #1
    twoodrum Guest

    Default collecting sap!

    Hey guys.....I'm looking too make some syrup this year.....I've made lots of sorghum syrup over the years but never tried maple. Last year, we made an attempt at collecting sap using clear tubing for spiles and plastic bags...worked great but we started too late in the season as the buds were popping already so we didnt follow thru.
    We're pretty tight on finances here so buying equipment is out of the question....we're gonna use the tubing into plastic milk jugs for collecting...we can tie the milk jugs too the trees loosely and run the tubing into the cap thru a drilled hole. In collecting, just unscrew the cap and dump it into 25 gallon plastic containers we already have.
    Now comes the part I need some help with.....how do we cook it down as we dont have a fancy evaporater and I dont want too fire up the sorghum house as it would take wayyyyy more sap too feed it than we could collect in an efficient manner.
    We're just looking too jug up maybe 5 gallons for our personal use this year......

    1. When do we start tapping.
    2. How do we store the sap until we get enough too cook down.....I'm assuming that leaving it in the plastic drums in the cold will keep it but will it freeze?.
    3. What is the best way too cook down the sap into syrup? I have a big (15 gallon) cast iron kettle. I also have 3 copper apple butter kettles. We have several stainless steel stock pots (3 - 4 gallons each). Thats what I have too work with......are we going too be able to use any of this or do I need too look for something else?

    I hope next year too enhance the operation if it works this year and maybe invest in a good used evaporater......but money wont allow it this year.

    Any idears???? Thanks in advance for help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Lyman, NH
    Posts
    2,166

    Default

    I've seen people cut a small 1" square hole in the 1 gal. milk jug near the top and then hang it right on the plastic spout. (no tubing required) It just hangs right on the tree and you can take the cap off and dump into a pail.

    Five gallons of syrup means boiling down 200-250 gallons of sap, so that's a lot of boiling in 5 gal pails. A Small flat pan set on a cinder block arch works good.
    2012: Probably 750 gravity taps and 50 buckets.

    600 gal stainless milk tank.
    2 - 100 gallon stock tanks
    one 30 gal barrel
    50 buckets

    3' x 10' Waterloo Raised Flue wood fired evaporator w/ open pans.

    12" x 20" Filter Canner

    Sawmill next to sugarhouse solves my sugarwood problem

    Gather with GMC 3500 2wd Pickup w/ 425 gallon Plastic Tank.

    Been tapping here in Lyman NH since 1989 but I've been sugaring since 8 years old in 1968.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Lyons,NY
    Posts
    373

    Default

    twoodrum,

    Get moving man!!!! All your answers are in this forum to much to put into one post. Top of this page there is a SEARCH section. Type in a few key words and every thing you need to know is in here. Better get going!!!There are some members from West Virgina on here lots of info for your area. Get lots of sap and fire up the sorghum rig. I don't like to store sap more then Three days it will sour. How many taps can you get???? Five gallons of syrup means you need 215 gallons of sap at 2% sugar more sap if less sugar. Figure ten gallons of sap per tap for the season. or 1 quart of syrup per tap. Some days one tap may run two gallons plus. Be dumping jugs a few times a day. May want to run that tubing into somthing bigger...

    Any way do a few searchs and see what you come up with. My self and others will be more then glad to tell you what and how. Don;t mean we know what were talking about, but be glad to help!!!
    100 taps
    Percheron draft horses
    Back out side and to small of
    an evaporator!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Columbiana, Ohio
    Posts
    896

    Default

    My first year I boiled in cast Iron kettles. It worked great but I did get up to 4 of them going at once to keep up. We made about 7 gallons of syrup that year. However once we got about 2-300 gallons of sap boiled down to about 1/2 a kettle full we would finish it in the house. It took alot of time but we did it.
    600 taps
    3'x8' Dellair evaporator

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Richfield, WI
    Posts
    456

    Default

    twoodrum,

    I don't see why it won't work. As Perry said, it may be slow going using kettles to boil in, but I did it that way for two years and made about 2-3 gallons of syrup each year. I actually used an enameled pot designed to be used as a hot water bath for canning. I set it up on some concrete blocks, built a fire under it and boiled away. It was slow and my syrup was smokey, but it was still good in my opinion. 5 gallons of syrup may be expecting a bit much seeing as how that's over 200 gallons of sap. You'll need to have about 15 to 20 taps to get that much and if you go with the 15 gallon kettle you're going to be boiling every available moment to keep up so storage won't really be an issue. Just try to keep it in pails in the shade or bury them in snow if you've got it. Keep in mind that whatever you decide to use to boil in is going to be covered in soot so I wouldn't use good stainless stock pots from the house. Your milk jugs will fill up fast on a good day so you may need to empty them every morning and night.

    As to when to tap, maybe WESTVIRGINIAMAPLE (aka. Brandon) can give some advice. He taps in WV I believe.
    Homemade 2X4 w/Flat Pan
    50 taps....but always looking to expand
    Mostly box elders with a scattering of red, silver, & sugar maples
    Allis Chalmers C & Homemade Sap Sled

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Lyons,NY
    Posts
    373

    Default

    What size is the set up you make sorghum on??? Kettle over wood or a flat pan type set up? Don't know much about sorghum, make it like a batch at a time don't you? You may already be sitting on a perfect set up for what you want to do with the maple. Brandon is in wv I bet he'll jump in soon and tell you the date and time he has tapped for the last few year. Were I am it's Often March when we tap your season could be over by then.???
    100 taps
    Percheron draft horses
    Back out side and to small of
    an evaporator!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    mid mich
    Posts
    305

    Default

    How big is your sorghum evaporator? I make both maple and sorghum also. I have a 30inx10ft arch but put a 29x82 in flat pan on the arch and cooked down 65 gal of juice to about 10 gals and finished the juice/syrup in a SS banquite pan on the gas turkey fryer. It took 2 hours to cook the juice down before I went to the SS pan. you could do the same with the maple sap. Just tap enough trees to get a good quanity of sap and cook for a while till you've consentrated it down to use a smaller pan. We made 100 gal of maple and 6 gal of sorghum in 09

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Lyons,NY
    Posts
    373

    Default

    Twoodrum,

    See how this works, Now were asking you the questions!!!!
    100 taps
    Percheron draft horses
    Back out side and to small of
    an evaporator!

  9. #9
    twoodrum Guest

    Default

    Thanks for the replies.......I've got a lot of research too do and today is a good day too do it! Wow....8* here right now...not too good for outdoor sports!

    We have access to more than 100 trees that are larger than 14" diameter.....alot of them are huge older maples. So tap no's shouldnt be a problem.

    We have tractors with wagons and 6 of the 25 gallon plastic barrels......and I can get more if needed so storage shouldnt be a problem.

    If you guys think that it will work better.....I can use the pan for our cane mill.....it is an 3' X 8' pan with 16 bars. Sides are 6" and already has a nice firebox under it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    mid mich
    Posts
    305

    Default

    Get 5 gal buckets to tube to you will be happier and longer collection periods they are free to a buck at your local grocery store bakery. Use plastic spiles and tubing to get the sap in the bucket.

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