What is maple syrup?
Maple syrup is generally made from the sap of sugar maple, red maple or black maple trees. During winter, energy is stored as starch in the roots and trunks of the maple tree. This starch is converted to sugar and rises in the sap in early spring. When the tree is between 30 and 40 years old, the sap is harvested by tapping. To do this a hole is drilled into the trunk of the tree to collect the sap, which is then heated to remove water and produce the concentrated syrup we know and love. Depending on the trunk diameter of the tree, a single maple tree can have up to three taps and many trees are tapped for sap until they are 100 years old.
Canada is the largest producer in the world with Quebec alone producing around 75% of the world’s supply.
Maple syrup is graded depending upon its density and translucency. Food grade is classified as Grade A and falls into one of these categories:
- Golden colour and delicate taste
- Amber colour and rich taste
- Dark colour and robust taste
- Very dark colour and strong taste.
Drizzle over pancakes, waffles or ice cream. Use it when you’re making chutneys, granola or muesli instead of sugar and try it as a glaze for pork or poultry. Maple syrup is also commonly used in cakes, sauces, chocolates, brownies and tarts such as the traditional Canadian maple syrup pie.