How to Filter Pure Maple Syrup and Avoid Sugar Sand (with Video)


Cloudy sediment in non-filtered maple syrup.

Have you ever found sediment, grit, or even chunks of sugar in your finished pure maple syrup? Congratulations, you’ve now met sugar sand (aka niter) and you’ve earned your official sugarmaking badge! We’ve all dealt with niter in syrup at some point in our tapping days and the good news: It is perfectly edible, just not so appetizing.

So how to say goodbye to sugar sand? Fortunately, the solution is quick, simple, and inexpensive: Just run sap and syrup through a filter. This article will teach you how to get rid of almost all sugar sand in pure maple syrup and filtering easily fits into the boiling and canning process.

What is Sugar Sand in Maple Syrup?

Before we get started, let’s talk about how sugar sand is formed. Maple sap is really the tree’s food source made from lots of water, sugar, and other natural minerals. During boiling, you evaporate off the water and, with the sugar, those minerals become concentrated. Filtering removes the majority of these minerals to leave syrup clear.

Professional sugar shacks use more complicated systems of filtering than described in this article and most also use hydrometers to measure the exact sugar content of finished syrup. These steps are not necessary for the backyard sugarmaker and for this article we’ll cover a simpler, three-step process for filtering from collection to bottling.

3/18/2020 8:06:43 AM

I filtered a total of five times using a variety of filter media from sap collection to bottling. This year my syrup has bottom sediment and also suspended particles. This is an unusually high sediment boil result. My guess is that because we had very little snow this year, the minerals were more concentrated in the ground and roots.

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