Maple syrup is an emblem of Canadian identity. When people think about Canada, this gooey brown sweetness is often where their minds go. Loved by many, maple syrup has created a name for Canada. More than fifty countries each year import maple syrup from Canada, proving that the world cannot get enough of its taste.
From Tree to Table
Maple syrup is made from certain types of maple trees in the eastern part of Canada. They build up starch in their trunks during the winter. Once spring begins and the temperature starts rising, there’s a perfect window of warmer days and below-freezing nights. The tree converts starch into sugar and collects water from its roots.
The pressure that builds within the tree during the early spring days causes the sap to leak through any cuts in the bark. As the pressure starts to drop, the sap flow slows until it stops for the night. This process continues for six weeks, until a carefully regulated amount of sap has been harvested.
Maple sap contains about 97 percent water, plus minerals, organic acids and maple taste precursors. Heating the sap to remove the water content can be done in several ways. It takes about 40 liters of sap to make one liter of syrup. The trees on 2.5 acres of land can output about 250 liters of syrup.
A Sappy Ending
Once the syrup is collected and condensed, it is exported throughout the world. In 2017, 10,847 maple farms produced 12.5 million gallons of syrup.
Quebec exports 95% of Canada’s maple products, making it the most productive province. The United States is one of Canada’s biggest importers, consuming 65% of the maple syrup exported from Canada.
All of that sticky, golden deliciousness means you get to have your (pan)cake and eat it, too.
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