Wednesday, March 29, 2006

For Sale..Extra Dark Maple Candy..$75 per pound

We have a saying around here. "When it rains, it pours". We have had string of troubles lately. The last week and a half we had the stomach bug, the transformer burning up, Leahs uncle had a stroke, my neighbor (the one with the hogs) was hit by a snowplow and was killed and now my syrup operation is out of commision. I'll admit, one of the things I'm most proud of is my welded SS pan. I treat it with care and always keep a watchfull eye over it. The weather finally broke and the sap was really comming. I took the pan down and set it on the arch, gathered some wood and started a fire. The wind was kind of strange that day and the fire was not drawing real good. I went over to the barn and did up some chores and then stopped back over to the sap house. She was boiling pretty good, not great, but pretty good. I stoked up the fire, set the valve so it would trickle in at the right speed and ran up the hill for some lunch. I was not gone more than 45 minutes to an hour. John, Noah and I went back to check it and to our horror we saw smoke and my pan. In all my years of syurp making I have never burned up a batch. I wanted to cry. My pan, oh my pretty little pan. It was warped and black. I got the twist out of it but I've been 3 days scraping and scrubbing the black crust and still have a lot to do. 200 gallons of sap in storage, the buckets are running over on the trees and I have no way to boil it down! Out of desperation I have started a big pot of it going on a 51,000 btu gas burner while I scrub. With 60 degree days, I'm running out of time. If I don't get it going soon the sap will spoil and I'll have to dump it. After all that work, I'll have to dump it. Anyone have any ideas for getting burned sugar out of a SS pan?


At 3/29/2006 5:44 PM, Blogger Herrick Kimball said...


I have a welded stainless steel pan and I have burned two batches of syrup in past years. I have a stainless steel pipe welded around the top edge to provide extra support (and it extends out to provide handles on each end, so we can lift it off the fire and a ball valve drain in one corner so we can drain it into a pan for finishing on the stove in the house) so the warping was pretty much not a problem. The pan is distorted but not too bad.

Anyway, I know how you feel. But I was able to get back on track by using an orbital disc sander to sand the blackened crust off. That's my advice---- power sand it. If I had a sand blaster, I'd probably have used that.

I have a friend who had a nice soldered evaporator pan and it was totally ruined by boiling off the water too far. I had a close call on my first boil this year. It was foaming and I doused the fire and we brought it inside and it was just right. Usually we have to boil for 1/2 hour or so to finish it off.

Best wishes

At 3/30/2006 5:03 AM, Blogger reformed farmer said...

Thanks Herrick

I had the sander idea yesterday. I had been soaking the pan so it didn't work well wet. I set it out to dry in the sun, so today I'll give the sander a try. Glad to hear I'm on the right track. I've never seen something so hard and nasty in my life. I even tried my industrial dairy cleaners and and acids on it. They should armor tanks with this stuff!

At 3/31/2006 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try vinegar. It is an acid.

At 3/31/2006 12:02 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Oh dear, how disappointing for you, Scott. I hope Herricks' advice works and you can salvage the remainder of the season's sap.

At 4/05/2006 9:32 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

This might be a dumb question, but what will happen if you just leave the burnt substance alone and use as is?


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