December 17 is the perfect day to begin the day with pancakes, french toast or biscuits topped off with delicious maple syrup as you celebrate National Maple Syrup Day.
Maple syrup was first collected, processed and used by the indigenous peoples of North America. The practice was then adopted by the European settlers who gradually refined production methods. In the 1970’s further refinements in the syrup processing were made with technological improvements.
- Legends exist of when maple syrup was first created, one of the more popular legends tells of how maple sap was used in place of water to cook venison served to the chief of the tribe.
- A maple syrup production farm is called a sugarbush or a sugarwood.
- Sap is boiled in a sugar house which is also known as a sugar shack, sugar shanty or a cabane à sucre.
- Up until the 1930’s the United States led in maple syrup production, now Canada is the world’s largest maple syrup producer.
- It takes 30-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.
- It takes one gallon of maple syrup to produce eight pounds of maple candy or sugar
- The Canadian province of Quebec is by far the largest producer, responsible for about three-quarters of the world’s output; Canadian exports of maple syrup exceed 141 million USD per year.
- Vermont is the largest producer in the United States, generating about 5.5 percent of the global supply.
- A gallon of maple syrup weighs 11 pounds
- There are three shades of Grade A Amber – light, medium, and dark.
- The sugar content of sap averages 2.5 percent; sugar content of maple syrup is at least 66 percent or more
- Tapping does no permanent damage and only 10 percent of the sap is collected each year. Many maple trees have been tapped for 150 or more years.
- Each tap will yield an average of 10 gallons of sap per season, producing about one quart of syrup.
- The maple season may last eight to 10 weeks, but sap flow is heaviest for about 10-20 days in the early spring.
- Maple syrup bottles have little handles on them because they originally came in 5lb containers that needed handles to hold, so when shrinking the bottle the handle was kept on because people associated the handle with that product.
- Maple syrup has more calcium than milk. – Source
- Because maple syrup doesn’t always look good on camera, many food advertisers replace it with motor oil in commercials. – Source
- Due to food rationing during the WWII, people in the U.S. were encouraged to stretch their sugar rations by sweetening foods with maple syrup and maple sugar, and recipe books were printed at that time to help housewives employ this alternative source to cane sugar. – Source
- It’s the secret ingredient in a master cleanse. Celebrities including Beyoncé attribute maple syrup to their weight loss and detox regime, which consist of consuming only maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water for 10 days straight. Hard not to think it would all taste better with waffles, no?
- Brands like Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth use such ingredients as high fructose corn syrup, cellulose gum, and caramel coloring to create an inexpensive substance which only somewhat resembles the genuine article. Thus, their bottles are usually labeled “original,” “breakfast,” or “pancake” syrup.
- There’s an International Maple Syrup Institute. Founded in 1975, the organization works “to promote and protect pure maple syrup and other maple syrup products.” Among other things, the IMSI is working to develop universal standards for syrup quality and consistency.
- $18 Million Worth Was Recently Stolen From Quebec. Just as OPEC maintains huge oil reserves, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers keeps a tightly-guarded stockpile of maple syrup that’s dipped into and redistributed to various participants during lean production years. In 2012, shiftless crooks invaded the federation’s primary warehouse and lifted 6 million pounds of the sweet stuff, making it one of the largest agricultural thefts ever perpetrated. Since then, 23 people have been arrested in conjunction with the case but, sadly, a third of the stolen syrup remains unaccounted for.
- Alfred University Offered a Maple Syrup Course. This Western New York school’s catalog has, at times, included “Maple Syrup: The Real Thing.” As the official course description explains, “The method of producing maple syrup is one of the things in our society that has endured even in today’s culture of constant change … This class will explore the history of maple syrup production, discover the ins and outs of making syrup, create (and eat) some sweet confections, and take field trips to local producers, restaurants and festivals. No prior experience expected.”