Paul’s Sugar Shack was filled with the sweet aroma of maple, steam billowed up off of the boiling sap as it bubbled away at 217.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because of New York’s cold climate the maple trees must store starches in their roots and trunks. As the weather warms up the starch is converted to sugar and rises up the tree in the sap. The sap is collected with a tap that is inserted into the xylem of the sugar maple trees. A bucket then collects the sap throughout the beginning of spring.
After the sap is collected it is set to boil. The sap will go from a very low sugar content to about 66% sugar after most of the water has been boiled off. If the syrup has a sugar content higher than 66% it will become solid-like maple candy. That means that 40 gallons of sap will only make one gallon of maple syrup!!
Maple syrup is a great natural choice of sweetener to add to many different foods. It offers many benefits that can’t be found in other sweetening agents. Maple syrup is high in manganese and a good source of zinc. Manganese is a powerful cofactor in antioxidant production. Both zinc and manganese are important for a immune system.
If you don’t have a chance to get maple syrup right from the source (a sugar shack) it is available in many grocery stores. But buyer beware! Make sure to look at the ingredients list on the back of the bottle. Some companies will trick you, claiming their product is “natural” maple syrup. I have turned the bottle around and read high fructose corn syrup listed, last time I check corn was not the same thing as a sugar maple tree. Log Cabin Natural Syrup has been a known target for misleading consumers, it is bottled similarly to Vermont maple syrups and claims to be all natural. The ingredients on the back state otherwise, including sugar, xanthan gum, caramel color, and maple flavoring. Tricky disguise Mr. Log Cabin, none of those ingredients come from trees!
I think best way to sweeten food or drinks is using the most natural and unrefined ingredients, maple syrup and honey. Both provide great flavor, nutrients, and sweetness without process or artificial ingredients. Clementine loved exploring the maple syrup production too!
What is your favorite food to add maple syrup to?