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How Maple Syrup is Made

Only a small corner of the world, mostly north-eastern North America, possesses the right combination of maple trees and climate to produce 100% Pure Maple Syrup. Even here the season when we can make maple syrup, called the “sugaring” season, lasts only 4-6 weeks between the freezing months of winter and the sweatshirt days of spring, and can be shortened to days if the weather is stubborn. Does it sound like maple syrup could be a sort of liquid gold?

Of course not -- the concept of maple syrup production and the ingredients are so basic! Take sap from the maple tree and boil it into maple syrup... While this is true, it takes a great deal of patience and attentiveness to craft a worthy batch of pure maple syrup.

During cold nights, the sap is stored in the tree’s roots. As temperatures warm during the day, the sap climbs and carries nutrients and sugars toward the branches for growth -- similar to the way blood works in our bodies. Because maple trees rely on their sap to grow we can only take 15% of the tree’s sap, maximum. Sounding a bit more like liquid gold?

Crafting Liquid Gold: Collection

To collect the sap, a small hole called a tap hole is drilled 1 ½” deep and 5/16” wide in the side of the tree and a Spile is tapped snugly into the hole. As the sap climbs, some of it will find this hole and exit the tree into a sap collection system of either a sap bucket or a plastic pipeline that links all the tapped trees to a central sap-holding tank. Once the sap is collected, it must be processed into maple syrup quickly or the raw sap will spoil due to its high bacteria levels and low sugar content.

Maple sap contains only 2-4°Bx (Degrees Brix, or percent sugar) of sugar, whereas 100% Pure Maple Syrup ranks 67°Bx, making it easier to store for long periods of time without going rancid. All that needs to be done to turn that volatile sap into maple syrup is remove water. But because there’s so little sugar in maple sap, it takes 40L of sap to make 1L of finished maple syrup! Still don’t think we’re making liquid gold?

Crafting Liquid Gold: Boiling

To remove the water, we boil the sap in a large, 2-part, evaporator that’s fire-heated with wood from our sugar bush. As the sap is reduced, the boiling point increases, finishing at 7.5℉ above the boiling point of water. If we boiled at sea level, this temperature would be 219.5℉. Once this “draw off point” is reached, the maple syrup is removed from the evaporator. The evaporation process requires constant supervision and attention to detail to ensure the syrup isn’t over or under evaporated, burned, or the fire allowed to wane. To keep the temperature constant, we stoke our evaporator with wood every 5 minutes!

After boiling, the hot maple syrup is pumped through a machine called a filter press, consisting of numerous paper filters sandwiched between metal plates. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is added to cling to the filter paper and create a super fine filter to clean the syrup.

100% Pure Liquid Gold

The finished syrup is then bottled, ready for your enjoyment on pancakes, yogurt, squash or wherever you like to drizzle the rich, sugary topping. 100% Pure Maple Syrup, unlike its artificial counterparts, has 54 antioxidants, lots of trace minerals and more calcium than milk! We believe that deserves to be called liquid gold.

 

 

 

 

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