Today we celebrate Maple Syrup!

Did you know that December 17 is Maple Syrup Day?  How well do you know of this golden liquid? Allow me to present you with a few tidbits of information.

Picture of a bottle of maple syrup from Quebec, Canada
Bottle of maple syrup from Quebec, Canada.
  • Though it can vary depending on the weather, the sap is collected between February and April.
  • Quebec produces 91% of Canada’s pure maple syrup.  With Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, that makes up 71% of the world’s supply.  New York and New England states also produce a large measure of maple syrup.
  • There are more than 8,600 maple syrup businesses in Canada. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup (FPAQ) ensures the economic, social and ethical interests for the more than 7,400 maple businesses in Quebec.
  • Collecting sap from maple trees is regulated, in part, by the International Maple Syrup Institute (to promote the use of pure maple syrup and protect the integrity of the product).
  • The maple is the symbol depicted on Canada’s flag and is a state tree in New York and Vermont.
  • Most “maple flavoured” syrups contain corn syrup and has little or no maple syrup.
  • Maple Syrup has more calcium than milk (per unit volume) and more potassium than bananas (per weight volume).  It also has Manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron, not to mention vitamins.  Compared to processed white sugar, maple syrup can be a healthier sweetener. For more information about this, see the Maple Syrup Nutritional Information.
  • Choosing a tree to sap, it must be 25 cm (10 inches) in diameter, and it must be at least 40 years old.
  • The tree has a healing process called walling-off, which prevents the same hole from being used a second time.  However, a single tree can be tapped for more than a century.
  • Each mature tree can produce about 40 litres (10 gallons) of sap per season.
  • In order to create 1 litre of maple syrup, 40 litres of sap is needed.
  • Sap is 95% water.  The process for making maple syrup is to boil the sap at 4° Celsius (7 ° Fahrenheit).  After this stage it is about 66% sugar and is classified as sugar.  Pure maple syrup is sap that has been condensed further by evaporating the excess water.

There are many sites on the internet dedicated to maple syrup.  A few are Eat North which has a “10 things you didn’t know about maple syrup” page; the CBC Digital Archives which has a lot of videos and links; you can find a lot more at Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association, including lists of maple syrup festivals; Coombs Family Farm has a nice collection of maple syrup recipes;

The National Post as an article, Maple syrup ‘fraud’ could be a thing of the past under new joint Canada-U.S. rules which is interesting. And if you remember, recently there was the $30 million theft of maple syrup – CBC News has a great article about it.

47 comments

  1. Had not known that, about all that calcium and potassium. But HAD known that I was born the perfect consumer in terms of being highly-susceptible to whatever I last viewed or read: Garbage (or Quality) In, Garbage-In-fluenced.

    Therefore, while it is mid-afternoon here, and I was not previously hungry, I am now walking away from the keyboard to make French Toast with Maple Syrup. And it’s your fault. Don’t know whether to thank or blame you.

    It’s Christmas: Thank you. Until it’s time to wash the dishes. Then, the other.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The process for making maple syrup is to boil the sap at 4° Celsius (7 ° Fahrenheit).

    Can this be right? 4° Celsius is 39 ° Fahrenheit which is hat and glove weather. (Sorry, I am a geek and these things trip my lever)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A friend of mine who lives in Paris took a bottle of the genuine article back to France with him. At the customs check, the French customs guys could not grasp the concept of boiling down tree sap to put on something sort of like their crepes, but thicker.

    My friend spent several minutes trying to convince them that his bottle of genuine maple syrup was no threat to French sovereignty, their authority as paid brats of the French Republic (oops – editorializing a little there), or civilization as we know it. Further, he had to convince them that it was, indeed, a gourmet item, something very special.

    After several tense minutes, they finally got tired of hassling him and let him in to la belle France.

    Do you suppose he would have been given better treatment if he’d mentioned a Canadian connection, that he was just an American, not his syrup?!

    Liked by 1 person

      • About five years ago, more or less.

        My friend has a victim aspect about himself that makes him prey for French officials.

        Once, when there was a fire in the restaurant on the ground floor of the apartment where he lives (on the third floor), he became aware of the crisis when his apartment filled with smoke.

        When he registered a “concern” (complaint?) later with the fire chief of the department that was called in for the fire, noting no one came to warn him of the danger and that it caused him some emotional distress, the fire chief sarcastically suggested he seek psychiatric help.

        The fire chief’s defense was that, “Well, we knew we had the fire in control. You were in no danger. It was just smoke.”

        This kind of thing always seems to happen to him.

        In New York City, where I occasionally visited him when he lived in Greenwich Village, I once stopped to talk with a group of young men who had a young German shepherd.

        I asked whose dog it was because he was such a beautiful animal. One of the guys identified himself as the owner. I then mentioned I hadn’t had a chance to pet a dog in months since I was in the army in training, that I missed my dog at home.

        The guy looked a bit surprised, but said I could.

        I pet the dog, scratched his ears and told him what a good boy he was. What a treat for me — and the dog!

        When I got to my friend’s apartment, I mentioned the encounter with the guys and the dog, and told him how I enjoyed the chance to pet a dog again.

        He turned pale. “They’re a gang that used the dog to rob me of my Bulova Accutron watch right on my doorstep two weeks ago, and the police suspect them of murder of someone in another gang.”

        Oh well. I got to pet the dog! He was a good boy, and the guy who owned him seemed pleased that I recognized his dog to be better than average, that he was special.

        They didn’t rob me, and the next time I came to NYC and saw them, I was the guy who liked the dog. I got free pass through their territory! The dog remembered me, too! Ha!

        Like

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