Information about Food: Maple Syrup

About maple syrup, production and tapping, nutrition of the food made from the sugar maple tree.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is made from the sap which is gathered from the sugar maple tree. This gathering--or tapping as it is called--is done in the spring during the "sugar snow," which is the last spring snow after a period of warmth. This time is chosen because it means that the warmth has started the journey of the sap from the roots, up the trunk of the tree, and to the branches. The snow halts the progress of the sap, holding it in the trunk, where it can be easily tapped. In the past, the sap was boiled out in the open, but now the liquid content is evaporated by machine until the required stage is reached. These stages are syrup, cream (from which candy is made), and the final stage, sugar. Pure maple syrup is a delicious taste treat, but one not to be overindulged in because of its high sugar content. Until about 10 years ago, maple syrup was a completely unadulterated product. Now, however, a tablet of paraformaldehyde is placed in the tap-hole to kill bacteria and speed up the dripping process. Traces of this tablet almost certainly find their way into the sap, but most bottles of syrup don't state whether this pellet was used or not. Avoid "maple-flavored" syrups completely. There may be as little as 2% maple syrup in these products, the rest being sugar and corn syrup. Look for 100% pure, and if possible, unadulterated maple syrup. You can still find it.

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