Lesson #115: Maple Syrup Production

I am a fan of maple syrup (the boiled down from maple sap kind, not the maple flavoured corn syrup kind, which is not maple syrup). It, along with mustard and mayo, is one of the condiments that I couldn’t live without.

Anyway, I learned today that apart from its health benefits and being generally tasty and awesome (both of which I knew), the vast majority of maple syrup (about 75% of the world’s production) is produced in Quebec.  Canada produces 80% of the world’s maple syrup and the US produces the rest. A few more interesting facts about maple syrup…which is more about numbers than how to actually make it; I know how it’s made.*

It takes 30-50 gallons of sap to make a gallon of maple syrup (which weighs 11 pounds). Sugar makes up about 2% of maple sap (the rest is water), but maple syrup is at least 66% sugar. Generally speaking, trees are at least 30 years old and at least 12 inches in diameter before they’re tapped. They can be tapped up to four times and tapping does no permanent damage to the trees. The average output of a tap is 10 gallons of sap per season.** The season runs about eight weeks, but the highest production is over 10-20 days in the early spring.***

*My paternal grandfather taught my brother and me how to make it one spring when I was 8 or 9. Not that I have ever had the opportunity to put this knowledge to use in the intervening years, but in a pinch,# I’m pretty sure I could replicate the feat.

#Read: some tragic alternate reality wherein I survive a nuclear holocaust a la By the Waters of Babylon and knowledge of maple syrup production is lost or, you know, it gets outlawed. I would totally break the law for maple syrup.

**Basically, one fully tapped tree will produce a gallon of maple syrup.

***More information here and here.

One thought on “Lesson #115: Maple Syrup Production

  1. I remember tapping trees with Grandfather! Haven’t thought about that in years.

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