|"Backyard Boilers"||Evaporators||Equipment||Supplies||Used Equipment||Forestry Equipment|
|Maple Syrup||Maple Candy and Cream - Instructions and Supplies||Recipes|
|MKS Enterprises, 60 Porter Lynch Rd, Norwood, NY 13668 - Phone: 315 353 2808 - Fax: 315 353 4645 - Email MKS|
"Backyard Boilers" Maple Syrup Evaporators for the Hobbyist
Make your own Maple Syrup
Late Winter and early Spring is maple season. If you have access to a few maple trees you can produce your own maple syrup and even enough extra to use as gifts for family or friends. Basic Instructions and supply list at the end of the page
We can put together everything you need to start making your own syrup.
Evaporator, fire bricks, stove pipe, gloves, filters, containers, thermometer, syrup hydrometer and testing cup.
We'll be glad to help you with advise and tips, the only thing we'll leave to you is getting the fire wood.
Basic syrup making information is provided below the Evaporator displays or add one of these books to your Library:
Maple Syrup Producers Manual
|Backyard Starter Kits
|Backyard Supply Kit
includes shipping in the continental US
Canning - Boiling Unit - $329.90Set includes a 32,000 BTU propane burner and a 32 qt. pot with cover, thermometer and faucet.
Use this set to heat syrup to the proper bottling temperature.
A good unit for a handful of taps making a more efficient "Kettle" set up. You will need to keep adding fresh sap as the level of boiling sap goes down. Boiling with propane is good for small amounts of sap and really only recommended if you are going to produce less than a gallon of syrup at a time.
Pot and Burner Set - $329.90... includes shipping
Individual item prices
Propane Burner - $129.95
32 qt. Stainless Steel pot - $199.
with cover, thermometer and faucet.
- Half Pint Evaporator - $1275.
The Half Pint will take you out of the "Colonial Period" and into the "Modern Age".
Finished syrup is drawn off the "finishing section" as more sap is continually "dribbled" into the first pan section.
The small evaporator pan won't make you a bulk producer but the quality of the syrup made will be much lighter than the Kettle method.
This evaporator is capable of producing a gallon of syrup per day.
A rule of thumb is 1/3 gallon of syrup per tap/season. An average sap season is about six weeks
Ideal for the backyard Sugar Maker with 15 to 50 taps, this dandy little unit has been redesigned and improved to make operation easier and more efficient.
The evaporator pan is made of stainless steel and divided into three sections. A reservoir pan allows for manually feeding preheated sap into the evaporator pan while maintaining boil.
The redesigned arch: 2 x 3 ft.
The arch is designed to be bricked using standard 1/2 and full firebricks
Leader Half Pint Evaporator
Flat Pan - $1275.Comes with easy to follow instructions.
Price includes shipping in the continental US
Leader Half Pint Evaporator
Supreme Pan - $1560Comes with easy to follow instructions.
Shipped standard UPS
Call for shipping cost... depending upon location shipping cost may add up to $200 to the overall price.
Accessory Kit - $166. DELIVERED
Leader has improved and expanded the Half Pint model to now include a optional extension to the original arch and a more efficient flued pan.
Another add on accessory is a BTU Booster consisting of a 120 volt blower that attaches to the air intake door.
The Half Pint Supreme Pan - $875... call for shipping
6 micro flues added to the middle section of the pan greatly increases the evaporation rate compared to the standard flat pan. The evaporation rate will go from 4 - 6 gallons per hour to 7 - 9 with the increased surface area of the supreme pan.
The supreme pan can replace the original Half Pint flat pan or expand the original arch using the new extension to add the Supreme pan to the basic model.
The flues are shallow making them easy to clean
Half Pint arch extension kit - $185... call for shipping
|The arch extension kit can be purchased with the flat bottom boiling pan or the new Supreme flued pan. Extending the original arch with the kit using the Supreme pan will increse evaporation rate by 65%.|
BTU Booster - $290... call for shipping cost
An easily installed accessory that increases evaporation rate. The 120 volt blower increses turbulance in the fire box with a massive amount of air to increase heating temperatures.
|Hobby Maple Syrup Production
Excerps taken from:
Ohio State University Fact Sheet
School of Natural Resources 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210
Hobby Maple Syrup Production
Randall B. Heiligmann
Late Winter and early Spring is maple season.
If you have access to a few maple trees, whether growing in your yard or in a woodland, you can produce your own maple syrup and even enough extra to use as gifts for family or friends.
It's easy, great fun and a very educational family activity. Sap to produce maple syrup can be collected from any native species of maple, but sugar maples are the first choice.
Maple syrup can be produced on a small scale with very little equipment, but there are some standard items required to do the job correctly. You may already have many of these items or can buy them at a local store. Others, such as metal collecting spouts (called spiles), collecting buckets or bags and finishing filters, are unique to maple production. Equipment you will need to properly produce maple syrup includes:
Tapping the Trees
Some sap flow may occur any time during the dormant season, after a maple loses its leaves, when cool nighttime temperatures (below freezing) are followed by days when there is a rapid warming above freezing (ideally, to about 40oF). Tapping for maple sap, however, is generally done only in the spring when the weather is more predictable and the sap sugar content is high.
Some producers tap by the calendar, routinely tapping each year on or before a certain date such as the second or third week of February. Others, particularly those with a relatively small number of taps who collect with buckets or bags, watch the weather. When suitable weather is predicted, they tap. Sap flow from a tapped tree will not occur every day throughout the tapping season, but only when conditions are right.
Sap can be collected for syrup production until just before tree buds begin to expand, usually sometime in late March or early April, depending on the weather. Sap collected and processed into syrup after bud expansion begins results in "buddy" syrup, which has a distinctly unpleasant flavor. Trees should be at least 10 to 12 inches in diameter (measured 4.5 feet above ground level) before they are tapped. The number of tapholes a tree can support depends on its diameter and its health and vigor. Traditional tapping guidelines for healthy, vigorously growing trees with no major trunk defects (dead areas, scars, etc.) are to use:
These should be considered maximum tapping rates and should be reduced for trees that are in less than excellent condition or have trunk defects. In recent years many syrup producers have gone to a more conservative tapping guideline:
Taps can be located anywhere on the tree trunk but for convenience they are generally located between two and four feet above the ground.
A collecting spout or spile is then inserted into the taphole and tapped lightly to seat it in the taphole. Spiles usually have a tapered shoulder that forms a watertight (saptight) seal so that sap does not leak. Do not seat spiles with too much force, or the wood above and below the taphole may split. Also, do not seat spiles when the trees are frozen, or the wood may split. When sap begins to flow, buckets or bags are hung on the spiles to collect the sap. Be sure that both buckets and bags are clean and free of debris. Both buckets and bags are generally hung on the spile by means of a hole in their side. If buckets are used, be sure they have a lid to keep out rainwater and other debris.
Collecting the Sap
Because sap flow depends on weather, it is not always consistent. Some days no sap will flow; other days, as much as a quart to a gallon of sap may flow during a flow period (several hours to a day or more). During the season, an average tap will produce 6 to 10 gallons of sap. To produce high-quality syrup, sap should be collected as quickly as possible. It is best to collect sap the day it runs and process it immediately into syrup. The longer sap is left in buckets or bags the more likely it is to spoil, particularly during warm weather. During periods of cold temperature, sap can often be stored for a couple of days under the proper storage conditions without seriously reducing the quality of syrup it will produce. However, such storage is usually not recommended or necessary for hobbyists. Usually, the season will provide enough sap in timely runs to make all the syrup you desire and have time to produce. Although not absolutely necessary, it is often desirable to filter sap through a cloth filter (e.g., several layers of cheesecloth) before it is boiled. This filtering removes any debris, such as twigs or pieces of leaves or bark, which might have fallen into the sap.
Making Syrup from Sap
Sap is made into syrup by boiling off water, which increases the sugar content to 66 percent and causes chemical changes that darken the syrup and provide its characteristic taste. The amount of sap required to produce a gallon of syrup depends on the sugar content of the sap. Sap averages about two percent sugar content, requiring 43 gallons of sap to produce a gallon of finished syrup. If the sap sugar content is higher (it varies from tree to tree, with weather, and other factors) less sap will be needed to make a gallon of syrup; if lower, more sap will be required.
Most large commercial producers use a continuous feed evaporation process to make syrup. An evaporation pan is designed so that sap is added to the pan at one end and syrup is removed at the other in a continuous process. Most hobbyist use a batch (kettle) approach, in which sap is placed in a pan and heated. More sap is added as water evaporates until a suitable amount of concentrated sap is present. The evaporation process is then continued with no additional sap and the entire batch is finished to the desired density. To batch-process syrup, a large pan, such as a roaster (teflon coated pans are ideal), is needed. The pan should be at least 6 inches and preferably 8 inches deep to prevent foaming over. Obviously, the larger the pan the more water evaporated in a given time.
With a good, constant heat source, flat bottomed pans will generally evaporate about two gallons of water for each square foot of liquid surface. A 12 inch square or 14 inch in diameter circular pan both have one square foot of liquid surface. Remember, 43 gallons of sap are required to produce one gallon of syrup - 42 gallons of water must be evaporated. This would require about 21 hours of continuous boiling (and sap refilling) if a pan with one square foot of liquid surface were used. By comparison, a gallon of syrup can be produced in about 7 hours using a rectangular 24" x 18" pan (3 square feet of liquid surface). Obviously, the larger the pan the more quickly the evaporation process will be completed. Do not fill the pan completely, as boiling sap usually rolls and foams. Remember to boil outside the house or at least vent the steam outside. Bring the sap to a boil. If foaming occurs, skim the foam off and discard. Maple producers use a defoamer to reduce the amount of foaming. Defoamers are not, however, commonly used when batch processing small amounts of sap. If foaming over is a problem, the common solution is to use a deeper container. If needed, commercial defoamers are available from maple equipment suppliers or a flavorless vegetable oil may be used. Use the defoamer sparingly (a small drop at a time) as excessive amounts may give the syrup an off-flavor. Continually replace the sap as evaporation occurs. To avoid burning or scorching, monitor the heat carefully (don't let the heat get too high), and keep at least 1-1/2 inches of liquid in the pan. The risk of scorching increases as the density of the liquid increases.
The higher the sugar concentration in a sugar solution, the higher the temperature at which the solution boils. As you evaporate water from sap you will discover that the temperature of the boiling liquid is increasing. Finished syrup boils at 7.1 ° F above the boiling temperature of water. When you decide to finish your syrup, stop adding sap and continue the evaporation process until the liquid is boiling at a temperature 7.1 ° F above that of boiling water. Monitor the heat very carefully as "finish point" is approached so that you do not scorch the syrup or go beyond the desired density. Be sure the thermometer bulb is not touching the side of the pan, or it will not read correctly. Finishing syrup at the correct temperature is critical to producing quality syrup that stores well. Be sure the temperature reaches the finish point. If you go beyond the finish temperature to more than 7.5 F above the temperature of boiling water, add a little more sap and bring the syrup to the correct finish point.
Since the boiling point of water varies with location (elevation) and weather (pressure systems), you should determine the boiling point of water when you are making syrup. This is easily done by placing your thermometer in a pan of vigorously boiling water.
Again, be sure the thermometer bulb does not touch the pan side. Once the syrup has reached the desired boiling temperature, it is ready for filtering and packaging. Filter hot syrup through clean wool or orlon syrup filters to remove sugar sand and other suspended solids. After filtering, syrup that is to be used immediately can be cooled and refrigerated. The rest of the syrup should be packaged hot in tightly sealed, clean, air-tight containers. For safe storage, syrup temperature for packaging should be at least 185°F. After filling and sealing the containers, immediately invert them for a short time to flood the container neck and lid bottom with hot syrup.