Sugaring 2013 – More Supplies
With the additional trees we are tapping this year I hope to be bottling some quart sized glass jars in addition to the flat glass 8 & 12 ounce glass bottles we used last year. I really liked the look of these bottles when I saw a similar jar in the syrup isle of my local grocery store. Fortunately Bascom’s had plenty of these so I picked a few up.
Also on the list were some seasonal taps and a roll of 5/16″ tubing. I am going to try most of my trees on the smaller 5/16″ taps this year.
In addition to the tapping supplies I picked up a couple more accessories for my evaporator. The first is some 1″ thick insulating arch board. This will help keep the heat inside the evaporator creating a more efficient boil and hopefully keep the sides of the steel evaporator warm to the touch. The arch board goes up against the steel of the fire box and is covered with fire bricks. The fire bricks serve as a durable protection layer preventing the soft arch board from the damage of loading and burning wood inside the evaporator.
Lastly, with all the new taps we are going to end up with a fair amount of sap on big runs. For example, there were a couple of days last season where we had an average of 1.5 gallons per tap on one day. With 50 taps this could mean 75+ gallons on a big run! This poses some issues with sap collection and storage. The 4-5 gallon food grade buckets that I used last year to collect and store sap when I had 12 taps will simply not be sufficient for 50 taps! To help with the sap storage I picked up a 35 gallon poly leg tank at Bascom’s. This will probably be the first of two 35 gallon tanks this season. This tank seems to be the perfect size to fit on my garden cart/trolley, so I can wheel the cart around with the tank on it for sap collection. I think a second 35 gallon tank with my 5 gallon food grade buckets from last year should hopefully give me sufficient storage capacity for sap collection on all but the best of days. Considering that the Mason evaporator takes 7.5 gallons to fill the syrup pan to a depth of 2″ and another 5 gallons to fill the preheated pan I am hoping that the larger quantities of sap will be just what the evaporator needs.
With any luck I will be dry fitting the arch board and starting the process of bricking the evaporator this weekend. I am hoping we are still a good 6-8 weeks out from the start of sugaring season, so hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate and there will not be an early spring like last year.
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