Maple Syrup – The Symbol of Canada

The maple tree is intrinsically part of Canada; after all, its leaf is emblazoned on the country’s flag. The tree can grow to be up to 35 metres in height featuring wide, three to five-lobed leaves that are known for their wide colour spectrum. During autumn, the leaves range from yellow, orange and bright red to a deep burgundy. The array of beautiful colours makes the maple tree a popular choice for a decorative plant, but it is also used to produce syrup – the famous maple syrup, which is a particularly popular choice with pancakes.

Food Facts Food Facts

Maple Syrup 

Class

acer

Calories

360 kcal per 100g

Nutrients

89g carbohydrates, 0g fibre, 0g fat, 0g protein per 100g

Season

available year-round

Storage

store cool and dry at 18-22°C room temperature

Shelf life

up to two years unopened

Maple Syrup – Production and Characteristics

Maple trees need cold, snowy winters and sunny springs in order to grow. They are commonly found in Eastern North America and Canada, making these regions the biggest exporters of maple syrup. However, only certain types of maple trees produce enough sap to make maple syrup – the sugar maple, the black maple and the red maple.

To get to the tree sap, holes are drilled into the tree trunk and taps inserted into them. The best time to do this is between February and April, as this is when the sugar forms in the sap. The tree sap is then boiled down to a syrup. 40 litres of liquid are required to make 1 litre of maple syrup.

Maple Syrup – Dark Colour, Intense Flavour

Maple syrup has an intensely sweet and nutty flavour, with a slight bitterness and acquires a slight caramel taste through the boiling process. Its consistency is thick, but more liquid than honey and the colour of maple syrup varies between a light golden brown and a rich dark brown. The timing of harvesting the sap plays a decisive part in determining the colour of the syrup – the later the sap is harvested, the more mature and dark it is, resulting in a more intense flavour.

Maple Syrup – Rich and Versatile

Maple syrup was viewed as an exotic product in Switzerland for a long time, but nowadays it is readily available. The high price tag is due to the amount of tree sap necessary to produce a bottle of maple syrup. However, one bottle will last you a long time, as the syrup is very rich and just a small drop is enough to add intense sweetness. The shelf life of maple syrup is also very long, making it great value for money. Open bottles should be kept in the fridge, where the syrup can keep for several months.

Traditionally maple syrup is used to sweeten waffles, pancakes or ice cream. It can also be added to muesli, yoghurt or fruit salad to lend a hint of nutty caramel. Maple syrup can also be used in savoury meals. It complements the smoky aroma of grilled meat or the slight bitterness of a balsamic dressing especially well. 

Maple Syrup – A Healthy Choice?

Opinions on whether or not maple syrup is healthy are split. On the one hand, it is a plant based product that is not heavily processed, but on the other, it contains almost as many calories and carbohydrates as normal sugar. This makes maple syrup unsuitable for anyone on a diet. However, due to its intense flavour it only needs to be used sparingly to develop its full aroma, making it a good replacement for more heavily processed sweeteners. 

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