Well, it’s just about that time. Looking at the extended forecast, we are seeing daytime temperatures consistently above zero, while still freezing at night. If that isn’t reason enough to start celebrating, it also means that the maple sap will soon start flowing in our sugar bushes. These types of conditions are just right to mark the start of sap season - a famous National past time! What could be better than gathering with friends and family at the sugar shack and enjoying all things maple syrup? Muskoka, with its beautiful forests and large old maples make it an ideal place to enjoy this wonderful, spring tradition.
Check out how it’s done in our video (from a few years back) of this fun, do-it-yourself operation here in Muskoka:
10 Fun Facts About Maple Syrup
- Canada produces 80% of the world’s maple syrup
- Maple syrup can be made from any species of maple tree, ie) black, red, silver and Manitoba, but of all the maples, the highest concentration of sugar is found in the sap of the sugar maple.
- It takes approx. 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.
- Native Americans were the first to discover maple syrup. Legend has it that they cut incisions into the trees to see what the squirrels were after, and after, began collecting sap and heating it with hot stones to boil it down.
- Maple trees are tapped between late February and early April, usually about 4 to 6 weeks.
- When buds start to appear on the trees the sap turns bitter in flavour. This typically occurs in late March or April.
- A syrup’s flavour depends on when the sap runs. Earlier in the season tends to be lighter in colour and flavour. Later in the season, when the weather starts to warm, the sap darkens and the flavour of the syrup will be stronger.
- Maple syrup can be a healthier alternative to table sugar. It is high in minerals and has the same antioxidants as berries, flaxseed, and red wine. In fact, it contains 54 antioxidant compounds, which help protect the body against free radicals.
- Stored properly, a sealed container of maple syrup can keep for several years. After opening, a container can be refrigerated for up to a year before it may start to spoil.
- Tasting maple syrup is a science. Specially trained practitioners have developed a flavour wheel, similar to a wine tasting wheel, that provides a scientific basis for objective, reliable descriptions of the many tastes of maple syrup. Descriptions like “vanilla”, “Forest”, “Sawdust” and “Nuts”
Here is the flavour wheel if you want to brush up on your descriptions and impress all of your friends:
Happy Mapley March, Pure Muskokans!