Showing posts from 2020

Vacuum Filter / Steam Bottler - Hobby/DIY

Does anyone else find filtering to be one of the most frustrating (and slow) parts of sugaring? I do.  If you are a small/hobby producer and are using a set of cone filters like I have been, it's awful.  It's slow.  It wastes your precious syrup.  And the results can leave some niter which settles out later - not attractive in nice glass bottles. Filter presses (like the big producers use) work awesome but they aren't conducive to smaller scale hobbyists.  First, they are expensive.  Second, they require a fairly large minimum volume of syrup for processing (5 gallons might be my entire season!).  Third, fairly involved set up, tear down, and cleaning. So what is an alternative? A vacuum filter . You can achieve drastic improvement over cone filtering (time and quality) at a fraction of the cost of a filter press. This year I built a vacuum filtering unit that also has a steam pan to keep the filtered syrup at a constant temperature for bottling.  That prevents mo

DIY 2 Stage Portable Hobby RO

This post will walk through the basic principles of reverse osmosis for maple sugaring, general design considerations for a DIY hobby unit, and an overview of a DIY 2 stage hobby RO unit.   General Principles: Reverse osmosis is a process by which pure water (called permeate) is created through filtration at the molecular level through semi permeable membranes, facilitated by an applied pressure (normally from a booster pump).  This removes unwanted ions, particles, molecules, and even bacteria from the water output (permeate). The "waste" output (called concentrate) is full of all the items removed from the feed water.  In maple sap applications the concentrate is what we are keeping and leads to less water to boil out of the sap, or, in other words, a higher sugar concentration on a volumetric basis.  While increasing sugar concentration and reducing your time to boil are great, remember, the bacteria in your sap is being concentrated on a volumetric basis the sa