The secrets of making
Everyone knows maple syrup, but do you know how this tasty golden liquid is made?
Of course you need maple trees, in particular the sugar maple "Acer Saccharum". Thanks to its existance the making of various maple products is possible. For Quebec's region, the maple syrup production contributes to the international influence of Quebec's gastronomy.
During the period between mid-March and mid-April, the water flows from the maples under particular climatic conditions. This is when the "sugar season" comes. At this time of the year, it takes ideally negative temperatures at night and positive temperatures during the day (freezing and thawing) for the water to flow.
When the temperature drops below zero, the wood inside the tree contracts, leaving more space for water. The water rises by suction, the tree sucks the water out of the ground.
When the thaw occurs, the wood expands. The water trapped in the tree is subjected to great pressure. All you have to do is drill a hole for the water to gush out of the tree, this is the phenomenon of the pouring. So the water flows naturally, and now it's time to recover it.
To harvest the water, the first step is to drill the maple tree, then tapp a spout into the hole, place a bucket on a hook, and attach a cover to keep out debris. Traditionally, maple growers collected the sap that fell into metal boilers by hand. They then transported the harvest to the sugar shack by horse-drawn sleigh.
Today, it is an elaborate system of pipes connected to the trees and leads the sap directly to the sugar shack. This is where the process of transforming maple water into maple syrup and other sweet delights takes place.
No matter what is used, the process is the same. Evaporate off the water until the boiling point of the sap concentrate climbs to 7 ½ ° F above the temperature at which water boils, usually 212° F at sea level. The exact specific gravity may be measured with several devices, but to ensure proper density a combination of a thermometer and hydrometer are most often used. When the sap has become syrup, it is drawn-off the evaporator. An average of about 32 litres of maple sap is needed to make 1 litre of maple syrup.
The last step is a careful filtration of the syrup to remove impurities, before it is graded by color and taste. The result is a clear and irresistible 'natural' sweetener with beautiful color. It is truly liquid gold!
For the quality of the syrup, a range of colors allow you to distinguish them :
- Golden - delicate taste
- Amber - rich taste
- Dark - robust taste
- Very dark - strong taste