Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup

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

picture of tapping a maple tree

Collecting Sap

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.

picture of filtering sap

Filtering the Sap Before Boiling

Maple Syrup Nutrition Information:

picture of maple syrup

Maple Syrup

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:

Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Mustard Dressing and Maple-Glazed Pecans

Roasted Chickpeas and Pecans with Bacon and Maple Syrup

Maple Apple Pie

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…


Maple-Soy Salmon:

Ingredients:

  • Salmon fillet

Marinade:

  • 3 parts maple syrup
  • 1 part soy sauce

Directions:

Marinate the salmon overnight in the maple soy sauce mixture.  Just before cooking, pat one side of the salmon in crushed peppercorns.


Maple Fudge:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup cream

Directions:

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.


2 thoughts on “Maple Syrup

  1. Mark, I have never really seen the process of Maple syrup before. I’ve just mention about your comment in my post which you also referred your upcoming tapping maple tree to my family and we’re all couldn’t wait to see and read about it. I was thinking that the sticky raw syrup would come from the tree itself :) Wow for 40 litters to make 1 litters of Maple syrup make me wanna save every bit of it.

  2. Maple Syrup Fudge…how decadent! My family is French-Canadian so I think I’m predisposed to loving everything using maple syrup. Have you ever had a maple syrup tart? If it’s a good one…so delicious.. But seriously, my favourite is drizzling it on snow and twirling it up on a Popsicle stick — reminds me of being a kid. I can’t wait to take my son to a Maple Syrup festival.

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