Maple Syrup

Maple syrup being poured on pancakes.
Green maple leaves.
A droplet of maple tree sap.
A bucket full of maple sap.
Waffles covered in maple syrup.
A buyer picking out maple syrup.
Maple sap being funneled into large plastic containers.

As might be expected from a people who has a maple leaf on its flag, Canadians, on the whole, really like maple syrup. Canada itself, moreover, is where a majority of the world’s maple syrup is produced, and foreign visitors to the country, as a result, often buy the amber Canadian specialty as a souvenir to bring back home.

Sapping maple trees

Still, while often buying ready-made maple products, tourists seldom learn about how maple syrup is produced. This is not required learning to be able to enjoy the syrup, of course, but to anyone interested in knowing what they eat and how it was produced, here is an overview. Maple syrup, to begin with, is made from maple tree sap, which is found in the trunks of maple trees. To access the sap from a tree, a small hole is drilled in the trunk and a spile is inserted into the hole. Through this spile, sap will then start to slowly drip out in the form of a see-through or amber liquid, which is collected by placing buckets or bottles underneath the spile. Once enough sap has been tapped, it is boiled and filtered, and the maple syrup is then ready to eat.

Syrup and pancakes

Aside from tourists, as previously alluded to, major eaters and buyers of the ready syrup are Canadians themselves. Canucks, furthermore, avid consumers as they are, combine the sticky sweetener with anything from bacon to coffee, although the most typical way to eat it is to combine it with pancakes or waffles. Even so, given that most Canadian maple syrup is exported, it is probable that more Canadian maple syrup is poured over American pancakes than over Canadian pancakes. The reason for this, simply put, is that people in the United States also greatly appreciate the amber syrup, and the Americans’ large numerical advantage likely puts them ahead in total consumption.

Nevertheless, while the U.S. may be a bigger market, it is evidently in the Great White North, not Yankee land, that conditions for production are the best. This is because the sapping of maple trees is most effective when freezing nights are combined with significantly warmer day temperatures, a weather condition often occurring in Canada during spring.