Maple syrup is synonymous with Canada and one of the rituals that spell spring. It is delicious syrup but labour intensive to reach that final amber liquid.
This image is one provided by Paulette for a drawing challenge on Drawspace. She's lucky enough to have a relative who is in the industry - this is the syrup master at work, monitoring temperatures of the boiling sap. I did a quick sketch then added some colour to it.
Some facts about maple syrup:
- Canada produces 80% of the world's maple syrup - the majority coming from Quebec.
- Maple trees most commonly tapped for sap collection are Sugar Maple, Black Maple, Red Maple, and Silver Maple. These maple trees are common in the Northeast United States and Eastern Canada. The Sugar Maple and Black Maple provide the highest sugar content, and therefore are ideal for a better maple syrup yield and shorter boiling times.
- Production is concentrated in February, March, and April, depending on local weather conditions. Freezing nights and warm days are needed in order to induce sap flows.
- It takes approximately 40 litres (10 gal) of sap to be boiled down to 1 litre (1 quart) of syrup.
- In Quebec, New Brunswick, eastern Ontario, and New England, the process has become part of the culture. One tradition is going to sugar houses (cabanes à sucre) in early spring for meals served with maple syrup. A typical offering is pancakes, baked beans and sausages, followed by a Tire sur la neige (in Quebec), maple taffee (in English Canada), and sugar on snow (in the United States). This is thickened hot syrup poured onto fresh snow and then eaten off sticks as it quickly cools.