Comparing the Standard Flat Pan and Divided Flat Pan
You may have noticed that some maple syrup pans contain a series of channels (called “Divided Pans”), and others are open (called “Flat Pans”). This article will explain the differences between the two styles and will help you choose the best pan for your situation.
Standard Flat Pan Benefits
- Standard Flat Pans are very economical. Great for entry level hobbyists.
- This style of pan is very straight forward to operate.
- On Badgerland Flat Pans, a thermometer can be added to monitor syrup progress. (Compare Badgerland to the competition.)
Standard Flat Pan Considerations
- Generally speaking, Batch Boiling creates darker, more robust syrup than Continuous Flow boiling. If your goal is to make lighter, more delicate flavored syrup, you may want to consider a Divided Flat Pan instead. Note: Regardless of what type of pan you use, late season syrup is always darker.
- If you are seeking the fastest boiling rate possible, you probably would be most interested in a Divided Flue Pan. Flat pans operate at a more relaxed pace compared to a Flue Pan. That being said, Badgerland Flat Pans are among the most efficient flat pans in their class. We have developed specialized tooling/processes which enable us to craft our Flat Pans with 22 gauge stainless steel. Our competitors opt for thicker, easier-to-weld metal which results in a comparatively lackluster performance.
The channels inside the Divided Pans enable “Continuous Flow” which basically means that you do not have to wait for the entire pan to reach desired density before you draw-off your syrup. Rather, you will you will draw off small amounts finished syrup periodically.
Here’s How It Works
Similar to a Standard Flat Pan, you will start out by filling the pan 2″ deep with raw sap. Then, while you are boiling, you will continuously add additional raw sap to the pan to maintain the 2″ depth.
When you add raw sap to a Divided Flat Pan, you will always add it in the back left corner (see diagram above), at the beginning of the channel system. As this raw sap is added, it pushes the existing sap further and further through the channel system, toward the draw-off valve. Eventually, you will notice a “density gradient” forming. The sap by the inlet will be very light-colored/clear whereas the sap near the draw-off port will be much darker and higher sugar density.
The Badgerland Divided Flat Pan comes standard with Thermometer ports. Using a thermometer will tell you when to open and close the draw-off valve. As soon as the syrup is drawn off, you can double check its density, filter and bottle.
Divided Flat Pan Benefits
- Generally speaking, Divided Pans can make lighter, more delicate-flavored syrup than Standard Flat Pans because the sap does not sit in the pan as long of a period of time. Note: Regardless the style of pan you use, the sap collected toward the end of the maple season will produce darker syrup.
- Adding colder raw sap to the back corner of a Divided Pan will not kill the boil of the entire pan. In that regard, a Divided Flat Pan is more efficient than a Standard Flat Pan.
- A Divided Pan allows you to boil for as long as you have sap. If you run out of sap, just shut ‘er down and pick up where you left off when more sap is available. You do not drain the pan until the end of the season.
- The Badgerland Divided Flat Pan is reversible. Reversing the flow of your sap through the channels will help eliminate any sugar sand buildup on the bottom of the pans.
- Continuous Flow Boiling allows you to filter and bottle your syrup as you go rather than needing to wait and do everything at the end.
Divided Flat Pan Considerations
- If you are looking for the most efficient style of pan possible, a Flat Pan – with or without dividers – is probably not what you are looking for. (See Flue Pans) Pans that have flat bottoms are more relaxed compared to a flue pan.
- Some maple syrup producers are intimidated by the dividers or find them to be initially confusing. However, after you use a divided pan the first season, you won’t think twice about it. Plus, we’ll send you a Badgerland instruction guide to help you get started. No sweat.