Preparing sap for upcoming Maple Syrup Festival

NAPPANEE — Two thousand two hundred taps have been dripping maple sap into tanks since mid-March at Eli Kuhns' Maple Syrup Farm in southwest Nappanee.
In a matter of weeks, 6,000 gallons of maple syrup have been successfully converted and put into storage for the upcoming maple syrup festival, but Kuhn's says as of right now, they're still trying to catch up.
The process for converting maple sap into maple syrup is actually a very simple one. Sap is pumped from the trees into storage tanks behind Kuhn's shed. The best trees for the job are usually around 40 years old and 12 inches in diameter. Next, the sap is pumped from that tank into two other storage tanks inside the shed to begin it's journey.
Sap is heated and much of the water is evaporated using a flue pan, which must have a continuous flow of sap in order to avoid scorching the pan or burning the sap.
"We need to remove about 40 gallons of water to get one gallon of syrup," Kuhns explained. The condensed product is 66 percent sugar, in opposition from the original 2.5 percent sugar sap gather from trees. Two hundred gallons of sap are pumped into the flue pan per hour, while nearly three hundred gallons are pumped out of the trees during that time, so keeping the flue pan running becomes a 24 hour job.
**To read the entire story, see the April 10 edition of the Bremen Enquirer or the Nappanee Advance News.