Spring’s Sweet Harvest

It’s maple-syrup season, and in Quebec that means it’s time for hearty meals enjoyed at rustic sugar shacks.

By Susan Semenak

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how maple syrup is madeFrom Sap to Syrup

  • In fall, maples store starches in their roots and trunks in preparation for winter.
  • In early spring, when temperatures rise during the day but remain below freezing at night, the starches convert into sugar.
  • The sap begins to flow when temperatures rise, creating pressure inside the tree.
  • To release the sap, sugar makers bore tiny holes fitted with taps into the wood.
  • Aided by gravity, the sap flows into reservoirs through networks of plastic tubing.
  • The reservoirs are emptied into stainless-steel evaporators, where the sap is boiled for hours over a hot fire.
  • It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.
  • Maple syrup is more nutrient-dense than its sweetening counterparts honey or sugar, containing potentially beneficial anti-oxidant compounds, as well as significant amounts of manganese and zinc.
     

Try These Maple Syrup Recipes:

Photography by Albert Elbilia

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