Before we know it, the maple syrup season will be here. The weather to date has been favourable, and hopefully our maple syrup producers will have a decent season.
This week, let’s look at this important sector of agriculture.
Maple syrup is a truly Canadian product, as we produce 70% of the total world’s supply. Quebec produces nearly 90% of this, Ontario 10%, while Nova Scotia and New Brunswick produce the remainder.
- It takes 30-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.
- Maple syrup is boiled even further to produce maple cream, maple sugar, and maple candy.
- It takes one gallon of maple syrup to produce eight pounds of maple candy or sugar.
- A gallon of maple syrup weighs 11 pounds.
- The sugar content of sap averages 2.5 percent; sugar content of maple syrup is at least 66 percent or more.
- Usually a maple tree is at least 30 years old and 12 inches in diameter before it is tapped.
- As the tree increases in diameter, more taps can be added, up to a maximum of four taps.
- Tapping does no permanent damage to the trees, and only about 10 percent of the sap is collected each year. Many maple trees have been tapped for 150 years or more.
- Each tap will yield an average of 10 gallons of sap per season, producing about one quart of syrup.
- The maple season may last eight to 10 weeks, but sap flow is heaviest for about 10-20 days in the early spring. In fact, warm sunny days (above 4º C) and frosty nights are ideal for sap flow.
The harvest season ends with the arrival of warm spring nights and early bud development in the trees.
Maple syrup is just not about sugar even though it has about the same number of calories (50) per tablespoon as white sugar. However, the big plus with maple syrup is that it also contains significant amounts of potassium (35 mg/tbsp), calcium (21 mg/tbsp), small amounts of iron and phosphorus, and trace amounts of B-vitamins. And maple syrup is low in sodium.
So, when the product is available, buy some Canadian maple syrup to use on your pancakes, milkshakes, tea, coffee, and on fresh fruit. Maple syrup can add flavour to baked beans or apple sauce, can be mixed with butter and poured over squash, sweet potatoes, or carrots, on baking powder biscuits, fresh donuts, over ice cream, hot cereal, baked apples, and whatever else you want.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any sugar bushes we can tour here in Chatham-Kent due to insurance and liability issues. However, if you head out to Giffin’s Maple Syrup Products (676-3448) near Blenheim or Earl and Bill Elgie (519-683-4659) in Dresden, you can buy maple syrup and syrup products that they make right there. It will be worth the drive.
Think about this – No matter where we are, Jesus is only a prayer away.
Just some food for thought.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘WE GROW FOR THE WORLD’.