You really can't go past pancakes with maple syrup. It's definitely a favourite in my house. If you've ever wondered why those little bottles of amber delight aren't cheap then keep on reading.
It's been around for hundreds of years and written accounts of the harvesting of Maple sap to make syrup goes back to the mid 1500's.
Harvested in late winter, early spring as the sap begins to flow with the change to warmer weather. It’s generally only collected during the day and the season lasts for 4 – 6 weeks. Once the trees begin to sprout buds the season is over as this causes the sap to change taste and become unpalatable.
Maple trees aren’t tapped until they are at least 30 years old and can then continue to be tapped until they are over 100 years old. Canada is now the largest producer of maple syrup but a large portion is also produced in Vermont in the US.
Modern collecting uses tubes and vacuums inserted into the trees to extract the sap. While the sugar content can vary, sap is mostly water so it needs to be heated to remove it. What you are left with is the delicious sweet syrup. It’s a very precise process to get just the right amount of sugar to water ratio of 66% sugar.
The higher the sugar content of the sap the less is needed to make the syrup so it can vary from anywhere from 215 – 94 litres of sap to get about 4 litres of syrup.
Maple syrup is primarily sucrose (this is the same type of sugar as cane sugar). It also contains moderate amounts of calcium and zinc.
To be called Maple syrup is must be 100% pure syrup, otherwise it’s labelled “maple flavoured” syrup.
Although it is amazing over pancakes and French toast, it’s a very versatile ingredient. I use maple syrup in my toasted muesli as an alternative for honey. I’ve also used it in muffins and it works well with peanut butter on a sandwich for the ultimate salt/sweet mix.
Our syrup is pure, organic, Canadian maple syrup. With a beautiful sweet flavour that’s not too overpowering.