It is the beginning of March, and the weather has been messy to say the least. Snow, changed to rain, and back to snow, snow, and more snow!. Despite the bad weather, I can’t help thinking that spring is coming. And spring means maple syrup
A sap-run is the sweet good-by of winter. It is the fruit of the equal marriage of the sun and frost.
– John Burroughs, Signs and Seasons, 1886
Making Maple Syrup:
In late winter, when the days are warm but the nights are still cold, the maple trees start to wake up and sap begins to flow.
The trees are tapped, and the sap is collected. (Recently, I saw a picture of rubber trees being tapped in Kerala, India. It’s funny how you can see familiar things in unfamiliar places.) My father will collect the sap in buckets hung from the tree. He needs to empty the buckets every day. Big producers will actually run pipelines from tree to tree. The trees (sugar, black or red maple trees) that are tapped are usually around 30 to 40 years old.
The sap from the maple tree is about 1% to 4% sucrose. It has a plain faintly sweet taste, like water with a bit of sugar added but nothing like maple syrup. Once enough sap has been collected, it needs to be filtered and then boiled. Boiling the sap is a long process and must continue until enough of the water evaporates. It takes 40 litres of sap to produce 1 litre of syrup. Once enough water has evaporated, the process begins to move much faster. If the boiling continues too long, the syrup will turn to candy, and may even burn.
Maple Syrup Nutrition Information:
Maple syrup has a significant amount of some minerals, making it a healthier choice as far as sweeteners go. However, it is still just a form of sugar, and should be used in moderation.
Nutritional Value Per 100g (3.5 oz) From the USDA Nutrition Database
- Energy – 261 Calories (1093 kJ)
- Carbohydrates – 67.09g
- Sugar – 59.53g
- Dietary Fiber – 0g
- Fat – 0.20g
- Protein – 0g
- Calcium – 67mg ( 7% DV)
- Iron – 1.2mg ( 10% DV)
- Magnesium – 14mg ( 4% DV)
- Manganese – 3.298mg (165% DV)
- Zinc – 4.16mg ( 42% DV)
Maple Syrup Recipes:
Maple syrup has a wonderful flavour and can be used in many different kinds of recipes, from desserts to main courses.
Personally, my favourite ways to enjoy maple syrup are simply poured over a bowl of vanilla ice cream, or a stack of pancakes.
Here are some maple syrup recipes from some of my favourite websites:
How do you like to eat maple syrup? Do you have any unique maple syrup recipes? Please share with us by adding a comment.
Two of my favourite maple recipes follow…
- Salmon fillet
- 3 parts maple syrup
- 1 part soy sauce
Marinate the salmon overnight in the maple soy sauce mixture. Just before cooking, pat one side of the salmon in crushed peppercorns.
- 2 cups maple syrup
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3/4 cup cream
In saucepan bring all ingredients to boil. Boil until it reaches soft ball
stage. Cool to lukewarm. Beat until creamy. Turn into a greased 8 inch pan.