ALBION, Pa.—Value added products are the best way to make money in maple.
Damian Hill and Scott Reed of Shaver-Hill Maple in Harpersfield, N.Y. led a seminar on value added products at the Lake Erie Maple Expo on Nov. 10 in Albion, Pa.
Hill offered some extremely useful tips, especially for maple coated nuts, a popular retail item.
Hill says the farm uses four types of nuts: peanuts, almonds, walnuts and cashews. They buy them in 4 or 5 pound bags and like to use raw nuts, as opposed to roasted.
Use one quart of syrup to coat approx. 5 lbs of nuts. For syrup they recommend to use Amber syrup. [ MORE ]
ALBION, Pa.—You can make maple candy without the expensive equipment, but you'll proably work up a sweat.
Steve Childs, the Maple Hall of Fame and former director of the Cornell Maple Program offered a fun class on making maple candy without any equipment, with just pots and pans and utensils laying around the kitchen (although you still have to buy the candy molds).
Childs was a featured speaker at the Lake Erie Maple Expo in Albion, Pa. last month.
Childs heated syrup to 32 degrees above the boiling point of water and then stirred by hand with a wooden spoon for about five minutes, working up quite a sweat.
There are variations in graininess in the candy depending on how much you let the syrup cool, he said.
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PERTH, Ont.—Thinking about making maple butter this summer? Crank the AC.
This was the advice from CDL expert Steve Skinner of CDL Lanark County and a sugarmaker from Perth, Ont. who led an online seminar on maple confections Thursday as part of the annual meeting of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association.
“Humidity can play all kinds of games with value added products,” Skinner said.
Skinner advised that sugarmakers should pay close attention to the humidity levels outside and maybe put off making maple butter—otherwise known as maple cream in the U.S.—until a nice dry day. Candy and taffy too. [ MORE ]
MIDDLEFIELD, Ohio—James Miller is well known in the Buckeye State for high production and quality value-added products.
Miller offered tips on making good granulated sugar at the Lake Erie Maple Expo last fall in Albion, Pa.
“Sugar is probably the easiest and the funnest to do,” Miller said.
The most important thing is to get the temperatures right.
Miller says he shoots for between 255 degrees and 265 degrees F for making a sugar with a lot of “creep.”
Creep is the term confectioners use for describing how a pile of granulated sugar with the proper amount of moisture will move, if it’s piled on top of itself.
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VAN ETTEN, N.Y.—Maple sugar has unrealized potential as a product with unlimited applications.
Despite variability in the product there is not much variation in what is offered for sale.
Most producers use the same guidelines and methods for producing sugar – typically using low-invert syrups which result in light colored and weakly flavored sugar. We’ve been experimenting with strengthening this flavor using darker syrups.
The advantage of using low invert sugars and the traditional method is a sugar product with consistent crystal sizes, and acceptable flavor and moisture content.
The drawback is relatively weak maple flavor that is easily overwhelmed by other ingredients. Many popular confections are made with strong flavor ingredients that mask the flavor of the sweetener.
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FAIRFAX, Vt.—One of Vermont’s largest maple producers has put its entire operation into a former game piece factory in the northwestern part of the state.
Staff at Runamok Maple, owned by Eric and Laura Sorkin, spent more than a week in July moving into the 55,000-square-foot facility in Fairfax, located in maple-rich Franklin County.
The building is located at 293 Fletcher Road and is the former site of Morse Hardwood, which used to manufacture wooden Scrabble game tiles. The structure has been vacant for about two years, so the Sorkins are happy to fill an economic void in Fairfax, while their business grows and thrives. [ MORE ]
The goals of this project are to improve the overall quality of maple sugar, molded maple sugar, maple sugar pieces or maple sugar candy which ever name you may be using. Quality is identified in terms of the smoothness, graininess, hardness, shelf life and lack of white spots deep in the pieces or on the surface of the pieces. The second goal is to improve the labor efficiency of making and handling the pieces.
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