So, I don’t know about you, but my sap is definitely running. Accordingly, this issue of the always-free despite being once-complimented, ‘Hot Line’, is dedicated to the sweetest of saps: Maple Syrup.
Have you ever seen a maple grove that’s all rigged up with contemporary syrup collecting equipment? No more buckets and spigots.
They use these thin, plastic tubes to drain the tree-blood into a central collection area. So, the trees are all sort of ‘networked’ together with these tubes in an eerie sort of arboreal Borg. This gravity-powered system saves loads of labour hours once it’s properly set up.
Maple Syrup Fast Facts
- One mature maple tree will produce roughly ten gallons of sap. You need roughly 30 gallons of that sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup as we know it.
- Maple syrup can be used as a vegan alternative to honey - yes, honey is not vegan because it comes from bees...
- Maple Syrup and Table Syrup are not the same! All those years of calling Aunt Jemima's maple syrup, you've been lying to yourself and others.
- Only Canada and the USA produce maple syrup. A whopping 82% of all maple syrup is from Canada and an impressive 91% of all Canada’s syrup is from Quebec. (Remember our mustard issue where Saskatchewan gave the rest of the world a big, mustardy smack-down on production? Well, now it’s Quebec’s turn.)
- While Quebec is the heavyweight champ, there are lots of syrup operations in Ontario as well. Many of them offer farm tours. See a full list and schedule here.
- It takes about 30 years for a tree to be old enough to be tapped.
- Maple husbandry has given us many common words and expressions. Upon seeing a particularly ‘sappy’ (linguistic contribution number one) tree, the sap-sucker would often lean back, leer at the svelte Maple and announce to his or her co-workers, “I’d tap that”.
- Canada’s biggest customer for maple syrup is the USA. Customer number two is Japan.
- Maple syrup is a fantastic grilling ingredient and is used in thousands of barbecue recipes.