Maple Syrup Trivia

  • maple syrup is a uniquely American crop
  • maple syrup is the oldest American crop
  • Native Americans were the first to make maple syrup
  • Native Americans cut into the the maple tree with an axe to collect sap.  The sap was cooked down to syrup in bark containers with hot rocks.
  • maple sap contains about 2% sugar (sucrose or table sugar)
  • finished maple syrup is comprised of 66.7% sugar (or 86.3% solids)
  • it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup
  • sap flow requires cold nights (below freezing) and warm days (above freezing)
  • in central Minnesota, the best runs of maple sap typically occur in mid-March
  • each tap produces about 10 gallons of sap or approximately 1 quart of syrup
  • syrup can be made from other maple trees (silver, red, box elder) but is usually not because they have a lower sugar concentration and the final product is reported to not taste as good
  • the tube that collects sap is called a spile
  • normally, sugars are found in the phloem, but maple sap comes from the xylem or wood.  This is the only time during the year during which there is large concentrations of sugar in the xylem
  • tapping doesn't hurt the maple tree - some trees in Vermont have been tapped continuously for many decades