Syrup (Tifton, Georgia)
syrup maker, like the historical ones, can depend on hand
labor. The 2002 NSSPPA conference, however, demonstrated
that mechanical methods to reduce labor while preserving
the essence of the craft are appealing to many who wish to
operate commercially. Therefore, at the beginning of this
site, I will show three custom-made implements that reduce
labor in harvesting cane.
are different views of a hilling implement. Opposing
moldboards throw soil to the center; wheels maintain the
depth. Wide sweeps run the centers.
are different views of a cane-stripping implement. A
circular band with flexible lines are powered by the
tractor pto. The lines flail the leaf blades off as the
band turns. Other designs call for several smaller bands
mounted vertically; a variety of material has been used
for line, including the line used on weed whackers
images are different views of a cane-harvesting implement.
As the photographs show, a circular saw cuts the base of
the cane off. Again, wheels control the height of the cut
and the saw is powered through the pto. Other designs
include a second blade for topping, a conveyer, and a
guide, similar to that on corn pickers.
making begins with the pressing set-up behind the syrup
7). In essence, a tractor pto powers a Golden No.4x, with
the bagasse being conveyed in one direction and juice
being collected in a large container.
Compared with horizontal power
mills, smaller vertical mills are, of course, much easier
to find and are much less expensive. Therefore, many syrup
makers have adapted a vertical mill to power
... As there are
inquiries about these systems, three photographs (Slides 8,
show some detail about the power train. (Note that the
right-angle drive also drives the bagasse carrier.)
center of the squeezing operation is the mill, a Golden
No. 4x (Slide
11). This is a heavy two-horse mill; as indicated
elsewhere , it weighs 1300 pounds and was advertised to
have a juice output of 150 gallons per hour. Rigged as
shown, it produces 260 gallons per hour.
12, shows a Golden No.2 that has been converted to be
powered by a tractor pto. Although it is not at Sandy’s,
it might provide other details of interest to one who
wishes to make a mill conversion. In this instance, the
right-angle drive was salvaged from a peanut combine.
As the cane juice is
evaporated to syrup in a kettle, its qualities obviously
change as demonstrated in Slides
14, and 15. At this
location, fresh juice is pumped into one of the pair of
60-gallon kettles (slide
13). As the juice is heated, proteins, lipids and
absorbed organics rise to the top. Called skimmings (slide
14), these impurities are removed as they rise (as
done at this location) or after they form a blanket . The
foam on the boiling juice is white at first (slide
15); at this stage, residual skimmings boil over the
rim and are trapped in some fashion. Later, the bubbles on
the top of the boiling syrup darken and the surface
becomes uneven (slide
16); some syrup makers call this stage “puckering.”
Near the end (slide
17), the syrup boils violently and uneven; this stage
goes by various names (hominy flop, shooting ducks, hog’s
eyes, calf’s eyes, frogs under a blanket, and perhaps
others). The significance of having so many names for this
stage probably relates to its importance: the syrup is
nearly finished. At Sandy’s, the boiling temperature is
monitored near the end with an automobile-type thermometer
18), but the final decision to take up it relies on a
hydrometer reading. Corn syrup, 2.5 gallons per kettle of
syrup, is blended to form the final product.
this site, various custom-made gas burners have been
19 is another variation, a single burner with a single
11/64” orifice surrounded by a chimney.
In closing, I wish to thank Sandy’s
for the excellent fun-filled morning—few things beat a
cool morning, boiling juice, and interesting
companionship! The syrup was splendid.