I had a comment come in recently that refers to a universal problem that many sugarmakers have. With heavy flood runs coming in the next couple days and an increased chance for heavy niter buildup here are a few tips that might help with the problem.
This producer asked:
Dose anybody have any advice on how to get this pasty mud like stuff to filter better I have been battling this for three years now and don’t know why, any advice would be greatly appreciated!
This was my answer to his question;
You have a problem that hundreds of producers have every year. So you are not alone in your question of how to deal with this problem.
Niter is caused by the mineral precipitating out of the sap as boils. Every woods if different in the amount produced.All depends on the mineral content of the soil. When we boil sap it is very similar to lime forming on a pan after you boil hard water several times.The only difference that we are keeping the niter in solution and filtering it out. That is the key to removing niter.
You have to keep it in solution when you run it through your filter. You need to keep your syrup very hot and filter it immediately.If the filters cool for a long period of time the sugar crystallizes on the filter and blocks the flow. If you are using a felt or orlon filter always use a pre-filter.In fact try to stack up several filters in layers and when the filter flow slows down just pull off the top layer and continue to filter the syrup.
If you use a filter press make sure you use enough filter aid to initially charge the filter. Even though filter presses have filter papers in between the metal plates it is the filter aid the does the filtering. Make sure use enough but do not over do it. Mix the filter aid and the syrup completely before running tne press. Keep the syrup hot and try to run larger batches. If you run small batches the filter press cools and you will not be able to run as much syrup through before you change filters. Watch your pressure and change filters when the pressure starts to build excessively. This should prevent blowouts and having to refilter.
Normally we filter with a conventional filter tank with a stack of 5 to 10 pre-filters on the tank and 1 orlon filter. I try to put enough pre-filters on for the better part of the day. After we filter we transfer to a 20 gallon heating tank. Heat to the syrup to 185 and then run it through a pressure filter into 15 gallon drums. I try to never bring syrup back to boil or more niter will precipitate out .
Hope this will help and good sugaring.