Sap Sampling Made Simple
Sally B. Patterson
Making maple syrup has long been a rite of early spring. The process is labor-intensive: tapping sugar maples, gathering around 30 to 50 buckets of sap per gallon of syrup, stoking the sugarhouse fires to boil down the liquid, careful watching and frequent testing to tell when a batch is ready — not to mention the grading, bottling and labeling required in commercial production. Nonetheless, the rewards are sweet enough that in 2006 some 1.45 million gallons of the amber elixir were produced in the US alone.
Now, Cleveland-based Misco Refractometer has introduced a device that may greatly simplify getting the syrup from the tap to the topping. The eMaple is a digital instrument based on a 1024-element detector array that precisely measures the sugar content of the sap at any stage of production. Readings are scaled to compensate for specific maple-processing temperature changes from 32 to 167 °F, and the device is handheld so it can be used as easily in the woods as in the workroom.
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