Maple Syrup

Topics: Maple syrup, Acer saccharum, Acer Pages: 2 (709 words) Published: May 29, 2013
Maple syrup was first collected and used by the indigenous peoples of North America. Vermont is the largest producer in the United States, generating about 5.5 percent of the global supply. Maple syrup is graded according to the Canada, United States, or Vermont scales based on its density and translucency. In the United States, a syrup must be made almost entirely from maple sap to be labelled as "maple". It is also used as an ingredient in baking, and as a sweetener or flavouring agent. Three species of maple trees are predominantly used to produce maple syrup: the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), the black maple (A. The black maple is included as a subspecies or variety in a more broadly viewed concept of A. Similar syrups may also be produced from birch or palm trees, among other sources. Indigenous peoples living in the northeastern part of North America were the first groups known to have produced maple syrup and maple sugar. Aboriginal tribes developed rituals around sugar-making, celebrating the Sugar Moon (the first full moon of spring) with a Maple Dance. The Algonquians recognized maple sap as a source of energy and nutrition. André Thevet, the "Royal Cosmographer of France", wrote about Jacques Cartier drinking maple sap during his Canadian voyages. The sap was usually transported using large barrels pulled by horses or oxen to a central collection point, where it was processed either over a fire built out in the open or inside a shelter built for that purpose (the "sugar shack"). Syrup producers also began using tractors to haul vats of sap from the trees being tapped (the sugarbush) to the evaporator. Some producers adopted motor-powered tappers and metal tubing systems to convey sap from the tree to a central collection container, but these techniques were not widely used. Producers developed reverse-osmosis machines to take a portion of water out of the sap before it was boiled, increasing processing efficiency. Boiling the syrup is a tightly...
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