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Frequently Asked Questions About Maple Sugar and Syrup
The following are some frequently asked questions about maple sugar and syrup:
Where exactly does maple sugar and syrup come from? Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees that thrive in the northeastern United States and in eastern Canada. These trees freeze in the winter, which increases the amount of starch in them. When they thaw that excess starch is changed into sugar. Maple tree sap, or xylem sap, needs to have a certain level of sugar to be used for make syrup. Although most maple trees can yield sap for syrup, certain maple trees will create better syrups. The sap is gathered at sugar bushes, or maple syrup farms, via boring holes in the trees’ trunks. Popular trees for syrup production are black maples, red maples, and sugar maples. Maple sugar is made from over processed sugar maple sap.
How is maple sugar and syrup made? Once the xylem sap has been gathered it is placed into vats and heated. The sap must be boiled at the correct temperature for the right amount of time or the substance will crystallize. As it boils, the sap condenses down into pure syrup. The syrup is filtered to remove sugar sand. If this material is left in it will give the syrup a gritty texture. Gallons of sap are needed in order to produce just one gallon of pure maple syrup. Additional processing can be done to create maple sugar, maple butter, or maple candy.
What are the grades of maple syrup? The United States and Canada have different grades for maple syrup. The grades are based on the sugar content of the syrup, which varies by region and time of the year. Canada has Number 1, which includes extra light, light, and medium. Then there is Number 2, or amber, and Number 3, or dark. The United States has Grade A, which includes light amber, medium amber, and dark amber. There is also Grade B, which is for processing. Anything else is considered substandard. Some specific areas, Vermont in particular, have their own syrup grades.
When you want sweet syrups and candies made from maple sugar, you can find online companies that sell such products. Some of these companies are manufacturers of maple sugar and syrup. Their workers tap trees for sap and process the product until it is ready for the consumer’s breakfast table. These online stores sell different grades of pure maple for coffee flavoring and sweeteners for waffles. Some retail grocery stores also sell organic maple syrup. You can go online to see if local farms sell maple extracts. If you are feeling adventurous, you can sign up for visit a maple processing campus. You may have the opportunity to stay in a cabin for a price and view the maple candy making process up close.