What is maple syrup (an' where's it come from)

How to harvest the syrup

Watch out for reindeer


Bottle it for the tourists

Then enjoy !!

One of the things people think of when they hear the word "Canada" is The Maple Leaf, another would be maple syrup, the thing that pancakes was invented for..................

but do you know where it comes from?
do you really care where it comes from?
if you do then read on and prepare to be educated.
If you dont, then dont read on.
If your not sure then read on anyway coz this story has got indians in it, its also got french people and history, something for everyone really.
If your not really interested in indians, french people or history then try this website.

http://www.clickpix.de/horses.htm

its got horses in it............................

Maple syrup is a sweetener made from the sap of maple trees. In Canada and the United States it is most often eaten with waffles and pancakes. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in baking, the making of candy, preparing desserts, or as a sugar source and flavoring agent in making beer. Sucrose is the most prevalent sugar in maple syrup.

It was first collected and used by Native Americans/First Nations and was later adopted by European settlers
History: Origins of Maple Syrup Production
Algonquin History

According to Native American oral tradition, maple syrup and maple sugar was being made before recorded history. Native Americans in Eastern North America were the first to discover 'sinzibuckwud', the Algonquin word for maple syrup, meaning 'drawn from wood'.

The Algonquins were the first to recognize the sap as a source of energy and nutrition. They would use a tomahawk to make a V-shaped incision in the tree. Then, they would insert reeds or concave pieces of bark to run the sap into buckets made from birch bark. The sap was slightly concentrated, either by throwing hot stones in the bucket, or by leaving it overnight and disposing of the layer of ice which had formed on top. It was drunk as a sweet drink or used in cooking. It is possible that maple-cured bacon began with this process.

To boil the water, they used a cauldron made of cooked earth, to boil maple sap over simple fires protected only by a roof of tree branches. This was the first version of the sugar shack. Over the years, this evolved to the point where the sugar shack is not only a place where maple syrup is produced, but also a gathering place where a traditional meal can be enjoyed.

Early Settlers in Quebec

In the 1700s, in Quebec, the white settlers and fur traders introduced wooden buckets, made by hollowing out a log. When the log was full, they poured the water into a cast-iron cauldron.

They boiled outside, in the woods. To protect themselves from wind and rain, they built a little camp. In the early days of colonization, it was the Natives who showed French settlers how to tap the trunk of a tree at the outset of spring, harvest the sap and boil it to evaporate some of the water. This custom quickly became an integral part of colony life and during the 17th and 18th centuries, syrup was a major source of high quality pure sugar. Later, however, they would learn to bore holes in the trees and hang their buckets on home-made spouts.

By the 1850s, the "sugar shack" (the outdoor shack used to boil down the sap) arrived as we know it today. The settlers had refined the methods for collecting the sap. The sap was transported using large barrel pulls by horses or cows and brought to the sugar shack for processing. At this time, the maple sugar was the only available sugar, and it was called “country sugar”. Maple Sugar production was especially important due to the fact that other types of sugar were hard to find and expensive. It was as common on the table as salt is today.

Even if production methods have been streamlined since colonial days, they remain basically the same. The sap must first be collected and distilled carefully so that you get the same totally natural, totally pure syrup without any chemical agents or preservatives.

Early maple syrup was made by boiling 40 gallons of sap over an open fire until you had one gallon of syrup. This was both time consuming and labor intensive, especially considering that the sap needed to be hauled to the fire in the first place.

The process underwent little change over the first two hundred years of recorded maple making. However, during the Civil War, the tin can was invented. The tin can was made of sheet metal. It didn’t take syrup makers long to realize that a large flat sheet metal pan was more efficient for boiling than a heavy rounded iron kettle which let much of the heated air slide past.

Virtually all syrup makers in the past were self sufficient dairy farmers who made syrup and sugar during the off season of the farm for their own use and for extra income. The process continued to evolve as a result of the innovations these farmers developed in their work. In 1864, a Canadian borrowed some design ideas from sorghum evaporators and put a series of baffles in the flat pans to channel the boiling sap. In 1872 a Vermonter developed an evaporator with two pans and a metal arch or firebox which greatly decreased boiling time. Seventeen years later, in 1889, another Canadian bent the tin that formed the bottom of a pan into a series of flues which increased the heated surface area of the pan and again decreased boiling time.