Maple syrup was founded by the North American Indians, and used as a spring tonic. Maple syrup is the boiled, condensed sap of maple trees. Of the six species of maple trees native to Quebec, only two supply suitable sap for syrup, the sugar maple (canadian national emblem) and the red maple. Maple sugar is a brown, crystalline sugar obtained from maple syrup.
A lot of work is necessary before you taste your first drop of maple syrup. First, the wood needed to fire the evaporator during maple season is gathered by clearing the maple bush of its dead and fallen trees. In early March, with snowshoes on to trek the entire maple bush that’s covered with 3 or 4 feet of snow, holes are tapped 1/4″ thick and 1-1/2″ deep in every tree that has a minimum diameter of 8″ (50 years of age for a maple tree). Holes must be carefully tapped at the right angle to ensure sap flows easily, and the tree heals well after the season.
A spout attached to each taphole is connected to a bucket, or tubes. In the past, sap was put into buckets and gathered by horse drawn carts. Although widely used, many modern producers use a pipeline system, pumping the sap directly from the trees to the sugar shack for processing, as is the case for Canadian Heritage Organics – organic maple syrup and other maple syrup products.
Now the work begins. Starting at 4:00 am, the evaporator is fired up and the sap is boiled down until it reaches maple syrup density. Organic safflower oil is used at this stage as an antifoaming agent, then filtered out of the evaporator.
Maple sugar and maple nuggets are made with 100% pure maple syrup; no other ingredients are added. The water in the maple syrup is evaporated off until an exact consistency is reached and is then stirred until it crystallizes.
Maple butter is made with 100% pure maple syrup as well. The water in the maple syrup is evaporated off and is then churned until it reaches a creamy, buttery consistency.