The Maple Syrup Industry
by Matt Molsen
January 14, 2014
Maple syrup is made from the xylem sap taken
from a maple tree
Any type of maple tree can be tapped for
syrup, but only 3 can produce enough sugar to
be used in the syrup industry.
Maple syrup can only be made in cold climates
because trees need to store starch in their
trunks before winter. Then, in early Spring, the
trees turn starch into sugar that comes from
Maple syrup is the product most people think
of being created from tree sap. However, you
can also make candy!
A Maple Tree
Native American Indians have been making maple syrup since the 1540s.
They would chop a V-shaped hole into tree trunks so sap would pour out
of the hole into a bucket they made of birch bark
The sap was boiled down into sugar in a hollowed out base of a wooden
log and they threw hot stones into the sap to boil all of the water out or
they would use pots and a fire if they had them
Indians Gathering and Boiling Sap
Trees are tapped in early Spring (usually February or March)
to get sap from the trees.
Trees must be 10 inches in diameter or larger before they can
be tapped; that's usually around 40 years old!
Each tree can yield around 10 gallons of sap. Trees that are
tapped correctly and kept healthy can be used to collect sap
for more than 100 years!
Typically the Sugar maple tree is tapped for its sap, which is
then boiled to produce maple syrup or made into maple sugar
or maple taffy.
Production Today –cont.
Then, they connect tube to the holes to get the sap from the tree and
attach a vacuum to the tubes to suck the sap out of the tree
They boil water out of the sap to make the natural maple syrup
Once the sap is gathered, the farmer takes the sap to his “sugar house”
were it is boiled down over low temperatures using an evaporator. The
sap starts to become a golden color as it boils down to syrup. It takes 40
gallons of sap to make 1 gallons of syrup.
A Sugar House
There are different grades and types of syrup. There is light, medium, and
dark amber varieties, as well as Grade A and Grade B.
They extract sap for about 4 months each season.
The color is determined by the time in the season sap is collected. Early in
the season usually makes a lighter color and later in the season makes a
darker color. However, it also depends on nature and weather.
Grade A maple syrup has more of a mild flavor.
Global Syrup Production
Quebec, Canada produces 76% of the worlds maple syrup.
The United States produces the remaining 14% of maple
syrup for the world.
U.S. Syrup Production
Vermont supplies 38% of the syrup produced in the U.S. and 5% of all maple
New York state produces 17% of U.S. syrup and Maine produces 13% of U.S.