100% Pure Maple Syrup is a true delicacy of nature, made entirely from the sap of northern sugar maple trees. Gathered in early spring (late February to April) while the snow is still in the woods. Conditions must be ideal with temperatures rising into the 40’s (ºF) during the day and dropping below the freezing point at night. The sap is still boiled down over roaring, wood fires. America’s first settlers learned the process from the Native Americans who collected sap in hollowed-out logs and steamed away the water by dropping in hot stones.
There are over 100 varieties. But only the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) has the high concentration of natural sugar to produce maple syrup.
Sap is a watery liquid produced by northern sugar maple trees in early spring. It is clear and has a very slight sweet taste. On average, sap contains about 2% natural sugar. Some trees produce less, but some have been known to produce as much as 10%. With warmer weather approaching, the “sap run” nears completion. This causes maple leaf buds to swell. The syrup takes on a strong molasses flavor. This signals the end of the sugaring season.
It takes up to 40 gallons of sap to produce just one gallon of pure and natural maple syrup.
Maple Syrup is a product with no preservatives. Unopened containers of pure maple syrup may be left in a cool, dark place for about one year without refrigeration. After opening, the syrup should be refrigerated. Freezing keeps open or unopened containers indefinitely, and the liquid will not solidify. Any harmless mold that forms on the surface of opened syrup may be skimmed off, and the product may be used after reheating on the stove or in the microwave. Place reheated syrup in a fresh, clean container and refrigerate. Glass is recommended as it preserves the color and flavor longer than other containers.
It all begins with a trip to the woods! Maple sap is gathered from sugar maple trees with buckets, tubing and drills and taps to gather the sap. In the old days, buckets were placed on each tree and a horse drawn sleigh with a large tub made the rounds each morning to collect the sap. These days, the trees are tapped and collect sap through an intricate line of tubing that extend to a large collection tank.
USDA Grade A Golden, Grade A Amber, and Grade A Dark are considered table grades. USDA Grade A Very Dark is an intense, strongly flavored syrup. Grade A Golden, used for maple candy and maple cream, has a light, delicate maple taste which is terrific on ice cream or pancakes, and is made early in the season; Grade A Very Dark is made late. Fancy Grade is also made early in the season. It has a light, delicate maple taste which is terrific on ice cream or pancakes.