Monthly Archives: April 2016

Handling Your Maple Syrup Crop after the Season

 

Les Ober Geauga Co. OSU Extension

Every once and awhile it is good to go back and visit and old post with a good message here is one from 2013 with a few additions.

Maple syrup is often referred to as “liquid gold”. The increased demand for maple syrup and the escalating value of this year’s crop, has added new meaning to this old adage. Once the season is over you need to use a little TLC when it comes to storing maple syrup so it will maintain its quality and value. If you have not sold all of this year’s maple syrup and have some left in the sugarhouse or in a tool shed you need to watch the inside temperatures of those buildings. With all of the recent hot weather syrup stored in outside non- insulated structures can elevate in temperatures quickly and spoilage can occur. You may have thought that you covered the entire basis by packing the syrup hot in a sealed container. Maybe not!

Let’s look at how syrup is packed and stored. Most syrup is stored in stainless steel barrels that were packed in February and March. The syrup went in to barrels hot and was sealed. A thirty gallon drum is a hard vessel to pack there is always room for air. They very seldom are packed without a small amount of air space. The drums then cool to the temperature of the time of the year. Eventually over time the syrup inside the drums takes on the same temperature as the outside temperature. Steel transfers heat and cold well.  The syrup on the inside of the barrel will remain cold for a long period of time due to its viscosity and mass. The steel in the outside drum will heat up quickly when outside ambient temperature gets above 80 and stays warm. The result is the buildup of condensation between the warm steel and the cool syrup on the inside. When this moisture gets into the air space molds can form. This is the same thing that happens to jugs when they are not heated to 185 degrees F. If the product is not above 66 brix the syrup can even ferment. The same is true for drums they should be packed hot and the seal should not be broken until you can the product. The worst culprit when it comes to spoiled syrup is a drum that was partially filled and then topped off with some hot syrup. This scenario and the spoilage that often comes with it can be avoided by repacking that drum at between 150 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It is always best to completely fill a drum with hot syrup right off the filter press, seal it and store it.

The best solution for long term storage is to build a cool room. You notice I did said cool, not cold. A walk in cooler would be the best case scenario but most producers cannot afford such a luxury. Take a small space big enough to hold several drums of syrup. This could be a closet or small room in a building. Insulate the room and stick a window air conditioning unit through the wall. When temperature gets above 80 deg. F for any length of time, fire up the air conditioner and brings the room to just below 70 deg. F. At that temperature the syrup will stays relatively cool in the barrels. It always seems to be colder than the outside temperature. You only have to get the syrup through the hot months, once the daytime temperatures cool off you are out of the woods.  Another trick is to rotate the drum occasionally this moves the syrup around inside the drum. This should dissipate any moisture that forms on the metal wall of the drum thus reducing the chance of spoilage if the drum was packed correctly to begin with.

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Filed under Canning and storage, Maple Production Tips, Maple Syrup Quaity

2016 Geauga County Maple Festival Maple Contest Winners Awarded

SaturdaCurtis cooky April 16,2016

It is not very often that a sample of syrup entered in to a maple syrup contest scores 100%. The syrup enter by  Curtis Cook of Bainbridge, Ohio did just that. His sample had perfect scores across the all of the scoring criteria. What makes this even more remarkable it came in a year when  many producers struggled to make any syrup at all. Congratulations to Curtis and his family for a job well done.

This years contest used a new format for judging the in County entries. For the first time awards were given for 3 grades of maple syrup. In the Golden grade Curtis Cook was the winner. In the Amber grade Charlie Soltis took home the honors and in the Dark Grade Robert Freeman was the first place winner.

Awards are also given in two other categories for best out of county entry and best Hobby producer entry. The Goodell Family Farm of Mantua Township in Portage County won the to[p honors in the Out of County Division. In the Hobby Division Skip Lazancich won the top honors.

The Maple Candy Contest has always been a favorite at the festival. For many of the producers this has become a culinary art that is pasted down through the generations. Because of this transition the festival gives award in three categories in a junior division. Out of these winners they come up with a Grand Champion Junior Candy Maker Award. This year champion junior candy maker was Ethan Bartlett from New bury Township. In the Adult Candy Contest 6 categories are judged. Points from each category are totaled and an overall winner is awarded.This year the Grand Champion Adult Candy Maker went to Ellen Gingerich of Middlefield Township.

Tinner John induction

Jim Patterson presents the Hall of Fame award to Tinner John H Millers Son John Miller

 

The highlight of the Award ceremony is the annual induction into the Geauga County Maple Syrup Hall of Fame of a producer a person who has supported the Geauga County maple industry over the year. The 2016 award goes to the late, “Tinner” John H. Miller of Middlefield, Ohio. The award was accepted by his family at this years Hall of Fame Brunch. Tinner John as was best known as the one person maple producers could not live without. You see John was tin smith and he repaired the majority  of the evaporator pans that without notice suddenly developed a leak. As all maple producer know you cannot operate an evaporator with  a leaking pan for very long. Because of this invaluable service and his support of the local maple syrup industry John was inducted into the hall of fame.  Normally a portrait of the honoree is placed in the hall of fame but in the case of Amish inductees a wood carving of his tin shop will be placed in his honor.

While you are at the 2016 Maple Festival enjoying your maple stir take the time to visit the producers display where all of this years entries will be displayed. More results are posted on the Maple Festival Page in this blog.

Photos courtesy  of the Karlovec Media Group and Geauga County Maple Festival
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under maple festival, Maple Production, Maple Syrup in Ohio, Upcoming Events