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Thread: Is Red Maple sap inherently dirty?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Puslinch, ON
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    Default Is Red Maple sap inherently dirty?

    Gradually moving from a mixture of sugar maples to red maples, this year I am 100% red maples. Since my collection has been predominantly red, my syrup has been dark from day one and that is true this year. I have also found that as I increased my mix of red maples that my filtering has become increasingly challenging. This year, with 100% red, and late in the season (when my syrup tend to filter more slowly) I can now no longer use a felt/paper combination on my vacuum filter press. I use a shop vac to draw down a CDL 12” filter press. It used to work well in previous years, when there was a component of sugar maples. This year, at this point, I no longer can use the felt (or whatever that material is) and must use several layers of the paper (it’s not really paper either) filters.

    I like to mix in the diametric earth (again, not sure what it is called) into the syrup before I filter it but could not do that as the filtering slowed down.

    My theory is that red maples, being softer, have an easier time of passing minerals between the cells and passing it into the sap. Hence, my conclusion is that red maple sap is dirtier than sugars. Has anyone else had that experience or can suggest another reason?
    Bob Harris, @puslinchbob, since 2009
    400 taps in 2 very flat red maple bushes
    2 Sapguzzler vacuum pumps each with 200 taps
    30" x 96" Smoky Lake Silver Plate with pre-heat and auto drawoff
    Bombardier Traxter XT fitted with tracks pulling 400 litre tank

  2. #2
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    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    Warmer season, more microbial growth, filters harder. Red maples are not likely to be the cause.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  3. #3
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    Nov 2013
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    Princeton, MA
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    I have 70% red maples and it is still filtering OK. I use cone filters. I draw syrup from evaporator into a pail through a cone prefilter, which collects a lot of niter. Then later it gets reheated and finished off and sent through a couple prefilters and synthetic felt cone, using the cone filter optimizer rack. I run 3-4 gallons per day, 4-5 qt batches. This time of year I need to change the prefilters between batches but earlier in the season I did not. The filter rack is a game changer. For years the end of season filtering was a nightmare, now it is no big deal.

    Dave
    Mountain Maple farm
    2021: 260 taps, 70% red maples. Mountain Maple S4 diaphragm pump controller with automated sap transfer and text messaging
    New website:
    https://www.mountainmaplefarm.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MountainMapleFarm/

  4. #4
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    Apr 2013
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    i'm 70% red maples and i have never really had too hard a time filtering. just have to keep the syrup hot. we but our filter (orlon with 3 prefilters) in a dairy milk can and draw syrup off the evaporator into that. when not in use, the filter either hangs above the syrup pan, or stays in the milk can with a cover over it. we always have two filters going... one in use, and one hanging over the pans.
    Awfully thankful for an understanding wife!

    “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
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    Good luck to all!

  5. #5
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    Dec 2002
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    Loudon NH
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    I used to tap all sugars and then transitioned to reds as I opened up my woods. About 90% of my trees are reds. I didn't notice any difference in filtering difficulty when I left the sugar maple orchard that was off site and added the reds that are on my own land.

    For two seasons I had a difficult time getting more than 5 gallons through my filter press when I used to be able to do 15 gallons with ease. I thought something in the trees had changed. I was so frustrated that I bought a full bank filter press to replace my short bank press. I had the same problem with the new press until I finished the bag of filter aide that I had been using. It turns out that I had gotten a defective bag of filter aide. I traced the timeline to when the problem started and it was when I had started using that bag. The problem went away when that bag was gone. Before someone asks, it was the Diatomite brand that I bought from a maple supplier.
    Russ

    "Red Roof Maples" Where the term "boiling soda" was first introduced to the maple producing world!

    Algier 2x6 evaporator, W F Mason arch
    Lapierre 250 Turbo RO machine
    SP-22 vacuum pump
    1930 Ford Model AA Doodlebug tractor
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  6. #6
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    N.E.Ohio
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    I am also on all reds and have a full bank 7” press. Early in season i can easily get 30-40 gallons through it. As season goes on it drops just like everyone else with sugars. For whatever reason almost everyone in our area is making darker than normal syrup this year. Being all reds made we still light last year, definitely not the trees, i would say congratulations on being all reds!! The haters will hate, but we all know that red maples are superior

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    You say you couldn't mix in DE, that puzzles me. However I'm not familiar with vacuum filtering.
    On a normal filter press the harder it gets to filter the more DE you need to mix in. Is a vacuum filter that much different?
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Retired from collecting and boiling in 2021. Mostly because of a bad hip.
    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
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  8. #8
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    Dec 2015
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    Weston, CT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kh7722 View Post
    I am also on all reds and have a full bank 7” press. Early in season i can easily get 30-40 gallons through it. As season goes on it drops just like everyone else with sugars. For whatever reason almost everyone in our area is making darker than normal syrup this year. Being all reds made we still light last year, definitely not the trees, i would say congratulations on being all reds!! The haters will hate, but we all know that red maples are superior
    In my woods I have a mix of reds and sugars at both locations I tap trees at. This year I tapped both the reds and sugars and if I could only tap one it would be the sugars. They run better and here in the southern end of the mid Hudson valley and southwestern CT, the sugars are back in "sugaring" mode with a crazy cold spell in the first week of April.

    As I see it the only reason anybody should be tapping Reds is if they don't have any or enough sugars to tap.
    If you think it's easy to make good money in maple syrup .... then your obviously good at stealing somebody's Maple Syrup.

    Favorite Tree: Sugar Maple
    Most Hated Animal: Sap Sucker
    Most Loved Animal: Devon Rex Cat
    Favorite Kingpin: Bruce Bascom
    40 Sugar Maple Taps ... 23 in CT and 17 in NY .... 29 on gravity tubing and 11 on 5G buckets ... 2019 Totals 508 gallons of sap, 7 boils, 11.4 gallons of syrup.
    1 Girlfriend that gives away all my syrup to her friends.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Puslinch, ON
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    Default

    This is GREAT feedback everyone! Thank you. My conclusion, reds are not any dirtier than sugars. In fact, I have been advised that they are cleaner because there is less nitre in the syrup. In my syrup pan I don’t even cover the bottom with what looks like silt. Certainly not the coating I have been told occurs with sugars. Does that make sense? All my trees are sitting in water and I have been told that they pick up less material from the ground than trees sitting on dry ground and particularly those sitting on sandy soil.

    That being the case I have also been advised I need to use much more DE or equivalent than sugars do as there is less sand/nitre in the syrup to amplify its own filtering. Does this make sense? I use a 7” 3 chamber filter press (about to pick it up and use it for the first time). Any experience on how much Filter-Brite/DE to use?

    Thanks again.
    Bob Harris, @puslinchbob, since 2009
    400 taps in 2 very flat red maple bushes
    2 Sapguzzler vacuum pumps each with 200 taps
    30" x 96" Smoky Lake Silver Plate with pre-heat and auto drawoff
    Bombardier Traxter XT fitted with tracks pulling 400 litre tank

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by randomseeker View Post
    Filter-Brite/DE to use?
    Hopefully you mean Filter-Aid/DE and not Filter-Brite. Filter-Brite is sanitizer for filter cartridge systems. DON'T use that. Also, make sure you are using proper food-grade DE made for maple syrup filtration. There are many types/grades of DE. Many are not appropriate and won't work well for maple syrup.

    In terms of how much to use....check with the seller of the filter press you're using. They should be able to advise you. Generally if things aren't working correctly, it's because users don't add enough DE. You'll be able to tell it is working correctly when you disassemble the press after use and find a nice cake of DE/niter has built up on the papers.

    As to your other question....our pet name for this is "insta-theory", meaning a supposition based upon limited evidence. Your hypothesis is what is termed "confounded" because there are two (or three) factors involved. One is species (red vs sugar). The other is moisture (normal vs wetland). Which is affecting your niter level is impossible to say. It may possibly be the season (factor #3). Several reports in this area and others of it being a low niter year. Either way...the best part is that you can enjoy the fact that it wasn't a problem.
    Last edited by DrTimPerkins; 04-14-2021 at 09:14 AM.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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