Sugaring 2013 – Finishing Up
Last weekend I finally got around to taking our last batch of maple sap concentrate and reducing it to syrup. An hour or so of boiling and we were ready to filter.
This go around I wanted to use a jelly bag filter that I had read about online and ordered from Amazon. It was kind of a let down when I opened the package and discovered how cheap it was. I am hoping the bulk of the cost is in the cloth filter and not the frame… Anyhow I clipped the frame to one of our stainless steel bowls wrapped the cloth filter around the frame and lined it with some of my pre-filter material. It seemed to work well.
Later that night I put the filtered syrup onto a pot with about 3” of water in it. Essentially creating a double boiler. At the same time I am re-heating the syrup to 185F for bottling I also put about 3” of water into my West Bend 32 cup coffee urn to pre-heat.
When the syrup hits 185F and the Coffee Urn runs through its brew cycle we are ready to bottle. With the help of the wife she dumps the water in the urn into the sink and quickly sets the urn back down so I can dump the hot syrup from the bowl into the urn. All this is done in a matter of seconds while the urn remains plugged in. This being our 3rd time performing this juggling act we have it pretty well dialed in. Next Wen begins to bottle while I cap the full bottles and set them on their sides. The whole process takes a couple minutes per gallon of syrup. Two important points when doing this. Make sure you have all of your caps and bottles ready to go before heating anything up and make sure you keep an eye on the level of syrup in the urn, because when the level of syrup in the urn gets low you need to unplug the urn so you don’t overheat the syrup or burnout the element in the urn.
We found out the hard way that a cloth or glove is needed for the 12oz jars. For some reason the additional fill time of the 12 oz. jars causes the jars to heat up a lot more in your hand than the smaller 8 oz. jars we had been using previously. We also ran out of the cool black plastic safety cap and had to got with the ghetto red metal caps on a couple of bottles. Another 108 ounces of syrup to this year’s tally.
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