When draining the concentrated sap from a continuous flow (divided) pan, there is a simple method that allows you to quickly reestablish your density gradient when you are ready to re-fill the pan(s).
Why Drain Sap From The Pans?
- If your evaporator is indoors or if the weather outside is warming up, your sap may spoil if it sits for too long. You will need to drain the pans and move the sap to a cold storage location in between boiling sessions.
- If you are reversing the flow of your sap to remove sugar sand build-up, you will need to drain the pans in order to turn the pan 180º. (An exception would be pan sets with the same side reverse system which allows you to reverse the flow by simply swinging two handles)
- If sugar sand build-up is severe, you may want to clean the pan before continuing to boil.
- If you are concerned with freezing overnight, you may want to drain the pan/sight glass for peace of mind.
Procedure For Maintaining Gradient In Continuous Flow Pans
- Draw off your concentrated sap into a series of clean, food grade buckets that are all numbered (1, 2, 3, etc). Bucket 1 is first to be filled and so it will have the most dense syrup. In contrast, your last bucket will be least dense. By keeping these buckets separate — and in numerical order — you can preserve your gradient.
- If applicable clean your pan and/or reconfigure your set-up after the pan has been drained.
- When you are ready to boil again, you will need to reintroduce the sap into the pan(s) and reestablish your gradient. Slowly pour the sap into the evaporator pan at the draw-off location. Start with the least dense sap and end with the most dense sap (bucket 1). Each bucket of sap is pushing the sap from the previous bucket further back into the pan system, toward the sap inlet.
- After you have emptied the buckets of sap back into the evaporator pan, make sure you have approximately 2 inches depth in the evaporator pan(s) before lighting the fire. Any additional fresh sap can be added by the pan’s inlet port just as you would do while you were boiling.