Learn how to make maple syrup – Attend a maple syrup festival!

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If you have never attended a local maple syrup festival in your area, I would highly recommend it.  Every festival event that I have attended in either February or March has included pancakes, sausage, your choice of beverage and of course REAL maple syrup – all at a relatively inexpensive cost.  Not only do you get to have a great meal but usually there are information booths and even actual demonstrations available regarding how maple syrup is made.

What’s so Special About Real Maple Syrup?

If you always had just artificial syrups, you will be in for a real treat having the real deal.  In my opinion, pure maple syrup is far and away better in taste.  It really makes whatever you are having better whether that be pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc.

Pure maple syrup is a 100% natural and nutritious sweetener that can be used for baking and cooking.  It is a very good source of mineral nutrients and vitamins including manganese, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium.  Researchers have shown that maple syrup has a higher nutritional value than all other common sweeteners.  Also it has one of the lowest calorie levels among common sweeteners.

Sweet Facts about Pure Maple Syrup

According to indianamaplesyrup.org & nationalmaplesyrup.com:

  • Pure maple syrup can be substituted in recipes with 3/4 of a cup for each cup of sugar
  • The shelf life is about 6 months in the refrigerator
  • Maple Syrup is the first agricultural crop each year
  • Its flavor is influenced by soil type, tree genetics, weather conditions and processing technique
  • On average it takes 40-60 gallons of maple sugar water to create 1 gallon of pure maple syrup
  • Each tree can support between 1 and 3 taps depending on the tree diameter
  • Sugaring Season runs 4-8 weeks depending on the weather
  • Native Americans first produced maple syrup and maple sugar
  • Many people think syrup is made of maple sap but it is actually maple sugar water.

 How is Pure Maple Syrup Made?

According to the demonstrations that I have seen, making maple syrup can be an effort of labor, patience and proper technique.  It is actually a fairly scientific and complex practice but I will attempt to simplify the process:

  • Typically in late February or Early March for many regions, trees will be ready to be drained of sugar water which is the sole ingredient.
  • Holes are drilled into the tree and tap drains are inserted into holes in order to collect the water.
  • This sugar water is collected into bags, buckets or though vacuum tubes to a holding tank
  • The sugar water is put though a heating process that evaporates most of the water away leaving a concentrated sugar liquid
  • This concentrated sugar liquid is then strained and filtered to allow for the finished pure maple syrup product to be bottled.

Conclusion

Once a person begins to realize the interesting history, science and manufacturing process behind real maple syrup, they begin to appreciate its value even more.  Speaking of value, pure maple syrup does cost more than artificial syrup but once you’ve had the real deal you’ll know why!  I’d like to encourage you to check out your local maple syrup festival festival, purchase some pure maple syrup at your local grocery store or even make your own if you are really adventurous.  I am confident that you will be glad you did!

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By Ryan Shields

Ryan is the Senior Editor here at Outdoor Home and Garden. He has a degree in Horticulture and has worked in the field of Facilities Management for over 16 years.

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