Maple Fun Facts

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Eighty percent of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada. Oh, Canada!

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Only three of 13 species of maple trees native to Canada are used for syrup. Sugar maples are the big ones, but black maple and red maple may also be tapped.

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A maple tree takes about 40 years before it’s big enough to tap. Maple syrup is a long-term investment!

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It takes about 40 litres of sap to make one litre of maple syrup!

Most trees only yield between 35 and 55 litres of sap in a season, so producing syrup is definitely a labour-intensive process.

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Frosty nights and warm sunny days encourage the maple sap to flow. The Maple season may last 4 to 6 weeks, but sap flow is heaviest for 10 to 20 days. Sap flowing in high volumes is called a “run.” The harvest season ends with the arrival of warm spring nights and early bud development in the trees.

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The first written account of maple syrup production comes from 1606. Marc Lescarbot, a lawyer and writer in Acadia, describes the area’s indigenous peoples collecting “maple water” and “distilling” it to make syrup.

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A quarter-cup of maple syrup is high in minerals. A 60 ml portion of maple syrup contains 100 percent of your recommended daily allowance of manganese, as well at 37 percent of riboflavin, 18 percent of zinc, 7 percent of magnesium, and 5 percent of calcium and potassium. Plus, the antioxidant levels are comparable to a banana or a serving of broccoli.

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A maple tree can yield sap (used for making syrup) for 100 years. A healthy tree, when properly tapped, should not suffer any adverse health effects and should be able to produce sap for many years.

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Running sap is all about physics. As sugar maples grow, they convert starch into sugar. This sugar mixes with water absorbed by the trees’ roots. When temperatures start to climb in the spring, the water-sugar mixture expands, forcing its way from the roots up through the tree.

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Most sap harvesting is done with suction pumps, rather than spiles and buckets. The old-fashioned sap buckets were originally used. While they are interesting and fun to look into, the tubes and suction pumps are much more efficient.