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 1970s further refinements in the syrup processing were made with technological improvements.
Up until the 1930s the United States led in maple syrup production, now Canada is the world’s largest maple syrup producer.
Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States.
- 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 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.
- Sap becomes maple syrup when it reaches 7- 1/2 degrees above the boiling point of water. At that point, it is 67% sugar.
- It takes 30-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.
- Maple syrup is boiled even further to produce maple cream, maple sugar, and maple candy.
- It takes one gallon of maple syrup to produce eight pounds of maple candy or sugar
- 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
- Usually a maple tree is at least 30 years old and 12 inches in diameter before it is tapped.
- As the tree increases in diameter, more taps can be added – up to a maximum of four taps.
- 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.
- It Takes Roughly 40 Gallons of Sap to Make 1 Gallon of Maple Syrup.
- What’s Fake Maple Syrup Made With? You Might Not Wanna Know. 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.
- Alfred University’s Offered a Maple Syrup Course. This Western New York school’s catalogue 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.”
- McDonald’s and The State of Vermont Once Got into a Legal Tussle Over False Syrup. Vermonters definitely weren’t lovin’ it when a misleading snack called “Fruit & Maple Oatmeal” emerged from the Golden Arches in 2011. Local law dictates that it’s illegal to “use the word ‘maple’ on a product unless the sweetener is 100 percent pure maple.” McDonald’s’ new dish didn’t exactly meet this criteria, and the authorities cried foul.
- 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. Naturally, their meetings often include memorable breakfast buffets and, sometimes, this guy: