Maple Syrup: Some Sweet Facts

Mmm mmm maple. Can't wait to taste your sap

It’s maple syrup time!

Sweet Maple Syrup Facts


      • Canada produces 90% of the world’s maple syrup
      • Quebec produces 90% of Canada’s maple syrup
      • Ontario is the second largest producer of maple syrup in Canada, producing approximately 4 million litres of maple syrup each year

Maple Tree Facts:

sap collection

Maple syrup starts out as sap from maple trees

  • Once a maple tree is tapped, the tree tries to heal the wound. In Ontario, that means that taps are relocated to new spots on the tree every year. Tubing can be left on the tree, but the new tap is located far enough away from the previous year’s tap, to ensure the sustainability and health of the tree.
  • The number of taps on a tree is dependent on the age and size of a tree. A simple way to figure out if a tree is large enough to tap is to hug it—an adult’s arm span would equal 1 tap. Up to 3 taps can be installed per tree.
  • You can safely tap maple trees every year without harming the health of a tree.
  • It takes 40 litres of sap to make 1 litre of maple syrup.

Maple Syrup Facts

maple syrup evaporators

Evaporators boil sap until it reaches the desired state – 66% sugar content

  • At the beginning of the season lighter syrup is produced. There is more sugar in the sap, so it doesn’t need to get boiled as long, creating a lighter syrup.
  • By the end of the season, the sap needs to be boiled longer, which leads to a darker syrup.
  • The darker the maple syrup, the stronger the taste. Amber maple syrup is best for cooking, due to its stronger taste.
  • At present, there are 4 grades of maple syrup: extra light, light, medium, amber
  • All maple syrup has the same amount of sugar in it, regardless of grade – 66%

Changes to the Maple Syrup Industry

  • A new system for grading maple syrup has been established by the International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI), which will standardize the grading of maple syrup across Canada and the US. These changes will take effect in Ontario by 2017 and will take taste, colour and light transmission into account. These changes are outlined by the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association (OMSPA);
    • Maple syrup may be graded as “Canada Grade A” if, in addition to meeting the requirements set out in section 5 of these Regulations,

      • (a) it is free from fermentation;
      • (b) it is uniform in colour and free from sediment and free from any cloudiness or turbidity;
      • (c) its colour class is
        • (i) Golden, Delicate Taste,
        • (ii) Amber, Rich Taste,
        • (iii) Dark, Robust Taste, or
        • (iv) Very Dark, Strong Taste; and
      • (d) it has a maple flavour characteristic of its colour class and is free from any objectionable odour or taste.
        less than75.0less than50.0less than25.0

        tem Colour Class Percentage of Light Transmission
        1 Golden, Delicate Taste (Doré, goût délicat) not less than 75.0
        2 Amber, Rich Taste (Ambré, goût riche)
        but not less than 50.0
        3 Dark, Robust Taste (Foncé, goût robuste)
        but not less than 25.0
        4 Very Dark, Strong Taste (Très foncé, goût prononcé)

Regardless of regulations, maple syrup will still be delicious and nutritious. Whether you choose golden, amber, dark or very dark maple syrup, you can be sure that the sweet goodness you pour over your pancakes, has been inspected and is fit for human consumption. So why not support local industry and get your fresh maple syrup from one of the many local maple syrup producers in our area.

Published by
March 16, 2016 1:00 pm