Where Does Maple Syrup Come From

If you have ever wondered “Where does maple syrup come from?”, read on. For me, there is only one place that maple syrup comes from and that’s maple trees. For as long back as I can remember, we have had a jug of real maple syrup in the refrigerator for pancakes and waffles. There is just no comparison to the fake stuff you buy in the grocery store. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to tour Green’s Sugarhouse in Poultney, Vermont during Maple Open House Weekend.

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Where Does Maple Syrup Come From ? A walk through a Vermont sugar house

Where Does Maple Syrup Come From

While you may buy real maple syrup from the grocery store, the beginning product comes from maple trees. All summer, the leaves of the maple tree make food for the tree (sugar).  No there is no maple syrup tree.  Most syrup comes from the sugar maple tree. However, most varieties of maple trees can be tapped for syrup. As fall approaches and the leaves change colors, the sugar that they made is stored during the winter as starch in cells inside the tree’s wood. When spring arrives, the starch turns back into sugar.  The tree (and everything else) thaws and brings water up from the ground. This water mixes with the sugar it has stored over the winter and becomes maple sap. When the temperatures warm up enough, the sap begins to flow through the tree.

It’s during this time that the maple sap collection starts.  There is an old Iroquois legend about the discovery of maple syrup so you know that this has been going on for a long time.  A long time ago, Native Americans made a cut in the maple tree and used wooden troughs to collect the sap.  Once metal tools were available, sap was collected in buckets and boiled over an open fire.

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Where does maple syrup come from?

Now, people who collect lots of maple sap, gather sap with a series of tubing that drains into large buckets or directly into a holding tank.  These large buckets are emptied into gathering or holding tanks that are usually pulled by a tractor.

Where does maple syrup come from?

From the gathering tank, the sap heads into the sugarhouse to a reverse osmosis machine.  This machine helps save both time and energy because it uses less wood in the sugaring process. The reverse osmosis machine helps take some of the water of out the maple sap.

Where does maple syrup come from?

Where does maple syrup come from?

Maple Syrup Production

In the evaporator, the sap is boiled to become maple syrup. Float valves control the level of syrup in the evaporator pans and let more fresh sap enter as there is room.  Before this technology, much of the maple sugaring process was done manually and was very labor intensive. Because the process was manual, maple syrup quality varied a great deal. With the current technology, maple syrup quality is more tightly controlled.

Where does maple syrup come from?

When the maple sap comes in from the trees, it has only about 2% sugar in it. After the sugaring process, it can have between 6% and 12% sugar. The sugar makers still have to be hands-on during the entire process to keep the fire going and watch the quality of the syrup.  They need to add more logs to the fire every eight minutes to keep it at the right temperature.

Where does maple syrup come from?

When it is the right temperature and thickness, a valve is opened and the syrup enters a stainless steel pail. After it cools, it needs to be filtered to remove the miter (or sugar sand) so the syrup doesn’t taste gritty. This sugar sand is actually some of the mineral deposits the tree brings up from the ground.  It’s very important that the maple syrup is the right thickness or it can spoil.

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Where does maple syrup come from?

Maple Syrup Grading

Maple syrup is then graded by color.  They use small bottles of maple syrup in a wooden holder to judge the color of the syrup when held against a light. Different color maple syrups are used for different things.  Lighter colored syrup has a more delicate taste and may be used on ice cream.  Darker colored maple syrup has a more robust taste and may be used for baking or baked beans. I’m partial to dark maple syrup in my coffee. Yum!

Where does maple syrup come from?

Maple syrup is not only available as a liquid to enjoy on pancakes but also as maple cream, maple candies and even granulated maple syrup.  I got to enjoy maple on snow and maple cotton candy when I visited Green’s Sugarhouse. They were both amazing!

Where does maple syrup come from?

There is nothing that tastes as good as real maple syrup. You need to know that the maple syrup you buy in the grocery store may not be the real thing. 100% pure maple syrup is delicious, healthy and all natural. Artificial syrups may cost less but they really aren’t a deal. The fake syrups you find on your supermarket shelf contain 4% or less of real maple syrup. Those fake syrups often contain ingredients like brown rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring, sorbitol and other unhealthy things. You should see nothing on a maple syrup ingredients list other than maple syrup. If you see something else, put the bottle down. Buy real maple syrup, not the imitation. Your family is worth it. If you cannot find it in your area, Green’s Sugarhouse ships all over.

Where does maple syrup come from?

Be sure to stop by and visit some of the events during maple syrup season in Vermont if you are in the area. I hope I’ve answered the question “Where does syrup come from?”


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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of a 20-year-old son and 25-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn't have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you'd like to work together, email info@confessionsofanover-workedmom.com to chat.

Comments

  1. This is so cool, I would have loved to have done this... I have never tried fresh maple syrup, it must be divine.
  2. oh, maple cotton candy... i love maple syrup.  and when i say maple, i mean REAL stuff. like you have. 
  3. This is so cool, I love learning about how our foods are made. I'd love to take a tour like this one!
  4. I knew maple syrup came from trees and now I know how. Thanks for showing
  5. Very interesting! I never knew any of this. Very cool
  6. wow that is really neat, a lot of steps! Pure maple is so good, what a neat experience that you go to see it up close! 
  7. I would love to explore something like this. So neat! Vermont's now on my bucket list!!
  8. I knew that maple syrup came from trees, but it was neat learning more about the process. I have always loved real maple syrup on my waffles.
  9. how fun that you got to go see the process! That is one thing I don't like about my region. Not very likely to grow Maple trees. I really want to be more self sufficient but we just cant' do the maple syrup on our own. But I LOVE 100% PURE maple syrup. Not that silly sugar fake stuff. 
  10. Oh how cool! I never realized the processes for getting that ever delicious maple syrup! Thanks for the insider scoop!
  11. oh my kids watched a cartoon on this process and they would love to see it in person! What a neat process
  12. i am drooling. i miss our trips to vermont. my daughters preschool class just tapped a maple tree outside the school. they are going to wait and see how much sap they collect, boil it and make pancakes. we do not ever buy that artificial garbage. i don't care how much it costs, we only use the real deal. 
  13. We live in Southwestern Ontario and it's perfect for maple syrup. My favorite is the candy. It just melts in your mouth.
  14. When I lived in upstate NY, we often went into Manchester on weekends. I loved stopping into all of the maple shops. You really took me back there with this post.
  15. WOW.. I had no idea.. this is SOOOO cool..thanks for sharing, and loved following along in the how to :-)
  16. Too cool! It is amazing that this amazing syrup comes from trees just like that. Thank you for sharing the process.
  17. This was a fun virtual field trip for me. I have always wanted to see how maple syrup was made. Very cool! Wish I could taste some. 
  18. I was jokingly going to say that they "tap a tree"... but they do! Ha. What a neat thing to see!!! I bet it's delicious, too.
  19. I love hearing about this. I always see that you can substitute sugar for maple syrup.
  20. I don't mind the imitation syrup flavor at all, but the real deal is pretty dang extraordinary!
  21. I enjoy learning about how the food we eat is made. I love 100% pure maple syrup. Once you've had "real" maple syrup you won't want the other stuff.
  22. Sich an interesting process. I watcjed a documentary about it once and have been fascinated ever since. Thanks for sharing, I love your pictures. 
  23. Maple cotton candy! That is interesting. I had no idea that maple was available in so many forms.
  24. I would love to go see this in person one day!
  25. Amy Desrosiers says:
    I think this is so fascinating to see. I shaved never visited Vermont, but it is not too far from MA! I have a giant maple tree in my yard too!!
  26. Wow, that was awesome!  I had no idea where Maple syrup came from!
  27. Maple sugar candy is a HUGE treat for me! I love when I get my hands on it! Looks like you had a great time!
  28. Nice overview.  It's sometimes hard to believe after living in VT so long, that not everyone knows the process.  And this will help folks 'from  away;' to understand the amount of work, both in time and physical labor, involved!
  29. Fascinating! I am now desperate to try REAL maple syrup! Following you on Twitter now so I can read more great tips :)
  30. Heidi Embrey says:
    Cool. We can't do maple syrup down here in Florida, It's too hot here. We can grow Maple trees but no syrup..

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