Maple syrup is a sweet liquid that is often used on desserts such as pancakes and waffles. It is golden in color and more fluid than honey or golden syrup. The sugar in maple syrup is predominantly sucrose which is a plant sugar. Maple syrup is sold in most countries all over the world but is most popular in the United States of America and they are the leading consumer of maple syrup worldwide.
Where Does Maple Syrup Come From?
Maple syrup is made from the sap of the maple tree which is found in cold climates. The largest populations of these trees are in Canada and northeastern North America but they can be found in some European countries. The best species of maple trees to collect sap from are the sugar maple, red maple and black maple. The sugar maple or Acer Saccharum is the most used due to its slightly sweeter sap. Due to the cold climates that are experienced by these trees starch is stored in the stems and roots of the tree. In the springtime this starch is converted into sugar. The sap then rises from the roots of the tree and is used to nourish the new growth that happens during the spring. During this season the maple trees are tapped and the sap is collected and concentrated to form maple syrup. This has to be done at precisely the right time as there is only 4 to 6 weeks out of the year that the best sap is available from a maple tree. Maple syrup is only produced in two places in the world and that is Quebec, Canada and northeastern North America. It is not surprising then that Quebec is the world’s largest supplier of maple syrup.
How Is Maple Syrup Made?
Maple syrup is made by collecting the sap of the maple tree and refining it to form syrup. The Native Americans are thought to be the first to collect maple sap and in the spring would cut v-shaped incisions into maple tree trunks. They would then insert a reed or concaved piece of bark into the cut and run the sap into buckets. Once they had collected enough they would heat the sap with hot cooking rocks or leave the sap to freeze overnight and remove the frozen water from the top. Maple sap collection has not changed much since then and is still collected in much the same way. The maple tree is tapped and a spout inserted into the hole. Small manufactures still hang buckets to collect the sap while larger companies run the sap through tubing to the sugar house. Once the sap is collected it is boiled down over high heat to obtain the syrup. Maple sap is about 98% water and 2% sugar. Therefore to get the syrup all the water must be boiled off and the syrupy sugar collected. It takes approximately 40 liters of maple sap to produce 1 liter of maple syrup.
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