At the sugar house, maple sap must be processed to a concentrated
density of 66% (maple syrup). It takes approximately 40 gallons of
maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. This 40 to 1 ratio
(average) makes the maple industry a very energy consuming
business. Several years ago, oil was very convenient and widely
used to concentrate the maple sap, but with the increase in oil
prices, alternate fuels have been explored. Producers are often
returning to the use of wood fuel for sap concentration.
There are a lot of backyard producers using the “batch system” to make maple syrup for family and friends. A pan is filled with maple sap and boiled. As the level in the pan drops, more sap is added until enough has been added to warrant finishing off the batch. The batch is evaporated to syrup, removed from the heat, and bottled or eaten. (Usually there is a continuous tasting by the operator—especially the first batch of the season). The entire batch process is then repeated, but most backyard operations finish only one batch per day.
Nearly all modern day evaporators are a continuous process. Sap is continually added at one point in the unit. The following are some methods of continuous sap concentration:
You now have finished maple syrup. Check it for the correct density with either a hydrometer or a refractometer. Maple syrup is now packaged (hot-190°F) and sealed in consumer-sized packages, and the packaged syrup is stored in a cool, dry place until needed.
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