YouTube Channel Maple Syrup as a Hobby Series

Forest Farming August 11, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

Steve Caccamo, President of Next Generation Maple Products, explains how making maple syrup has become a growing hobby over the years. It's easy to start out by tapping a few trees in your yard and boiling the sap with a turkey fryer and propane, but it is more cost efficient to use wood. We take a look at a small evaporator that Steve made for his sugar house once he decided to expand his maple syrup production.

Steve Caccamo's sugaring operation demonstrates small-scale production. In this video, he transports sap from about 80 - 100 taps near his home back to his sugar house. The tubing system he set up uses gravity to bring the sap from the trees to the collection tank.  By pumping the sap from the collection tank to food grade holding tanks in his truck, Steve is able to quickly transport the sap back to the evaporator in his back yard.

Producing maple syrup can be fairly straight-forward when making smaller quantities. The maple sap begins with a sugar content of two percent. In order for it to be labeled syrup in the state of New York, the sugar content must be a minimum of 66 percent at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Vermont and New Hampshire require the sugar content to be 66.9 percent. Steve Caccamo began making maple syrup by boiling it in a turkey fryer but realized that it wasn't a cost efficient method. He eventually expanded his back yard production and designed a small evaporator that fits in his sugar house. The sap is pumped from the collection tanks in his truck to a holding tank above his sugar house. From there, it goes into the wood-fueled evaporator where most of the water is boiled off. Steve places a fan by the flame to keep the wood burning consistently. After most of the water is boiled off, Steve prefers to finish his syrup in a pan to give him greater precision in bringing the syrup to 66 percent sugar at 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.