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10 Fun & Fascinating Facts About Maple Syrup

20 May, 2022
Finedininglovers Maple Syrup Illustration

What is maple syrup?

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener made from the xylem sap of sugar, black and red maples, mainly grown in Canada. Quebec produces over 70% of the world's maple syrup, making it the world's biggest producer.

How is maple syrup made?

Maple syrup is made from the sap collected from maple trees which are usually tapped for their syrup between late February and the height of spring, in early April. 

To make maple syrup, the sap (which is about 98% water) is boiled down to allow the water to evaporate and obtain a thick and sweet syrup which can then be bottled.

It takes about 20 litres of sap to make one litre of syrup at the start of the season. The average maple tree will produce up to 12 litres (3.2 US gal) per day.

Who invented maple syrup?

European settlers to the U.S. Northeast and Canada learned about sugar maples from Native Americans.

The actual origins of maple syrup are steeped in legend. One such legend is that the chief of a tribe threw a tomahawk at a tree, resulting in the sap running out which his wife then used to cook venison. 

What are the different varieties of maple syrup?

Maple syrup is graded according its density and translucency, from light (Grade A with a golden hue and a delicate tatse) to darker Grade B which has a stronger and more robust flavour.

What are the different flavour profiles of maple syrup?

An impressive 91 unique flavours can be found in maple syrup according to Agriculture Canada, which has developed a ‘flavour wheel’ grouped into 13 flavour families like milky, fruity, floral and spicy, and 39 subfamilies like butter, milk and honey.

Not only is maple syrup a surprisingly versatile ingredient in the kitchen, but it also has several other useful and highly beneficial properties. We’ll be taking a look at the health benefits of maple syrup here.

Health benefits of maple syrup

Maple syrup is high in minerals and antioxidants.

In fact, medical journal Pharmaceutical Biology, revealed that pure maple syrup contains up to 24 different antioxidants, comparable to a banana or a serving of broccoli.

One 60 ml (1/4 cup) serving of maple syrup contains 72% of the daily nutritional requirement of manganese, 27% of riboflavin, 17% of copper, and 6% of calcium.

How to store maple syrup

Unlike sugar or honey, maple syrup can go mouldy once opened. However, it can last up to two years in a cool dry place if left unopened and up to a year in the fridge once opened.

How to use maple syrup?

Maple syrup is a versatile ingredient and can be used in both sweet and savoury cooking and as a natural sugar replacement.

a stack of pancakes being drizzled with maple syrup

Drizzled over pancakes and waffles at breakfast or brunch time, maple syrup is equally good for glazing vegetables and meats, or making up BBQ sauces.

Why not try maple syrup today? Get started with our mashed potato pancakes with maple syrup recipe or sweet and salty maple bacon cupcakes for the ultimate brunch time treat, or go for dessert with brandy and maple syrup-infused peaches for an aromatic and fruity dessert.

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