Last year was our first year sugaring, and we definitely made a few mistakes along the way. But we've learned quite a bit from those mistakes, and came away with several ideas for improvements. The biggest change from last year is that we redesigned our homemade evaporator. Our set up last year was VERY primitive, as you can see in the photo below...
For this year's boil, we did a lot of research, and looked at a lot of different evaporator set ups. We ended up with this:
This set up worked SO much better! The back is closed up with cinder blocks, and we added a chimney. We also set the pans directly on the cinder blocks, closer to the fire. This evaporator was so much more efficient than last year's that our sap boiled down in much less time. It was really easy to build... It only took us about 10 minutes to put together, using about $40 worth of materials from Home Depot (12 cinder blocks, vent pipe, and a few bricks that we already had) We were so happy with this, that we plan to use this same set up next year, as well.
Next post, I'll be sharing how I've preserved all the syrup we've made. Until then... stay warm, friends... Spring is just 16 days away!