How is Maple Syrup Made?

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  • Written By: Crystal Brackman
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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Maple syrup is made from sap — a liquid that runs up the Sugar Maple tree in early spring, signaling that it's time for the tree to bud. Sap has a clear appearance, like water, but has a thicker, sticker consistency, as well as a sweeter taste.

During sugaring time, maple syrup makers will tap maple trees to extract the sap. Most modern syrup makers use a tube system to collect the sap. The tree has a small hole drilled into it, a small spout, or tap, is then placed into the hole. The sap runs out of the tap into a long piece of plastic tubing which can connect more than 100 trees at a time. The sap will run through the tubing and flow into a main container, or holding tank. Syrup makers will continue to collect sap until it turns color. The color change signals that the trees are about to bud.

The sap is then taken to the sugar house where it is transformed into maple syrup. The sap is strained, and poured into uncovered, stainless steel cooking bins. Traditionally, the bins are situated on top of a very hot fire fueled by wood because wood burns hot and long.


The sap is boiled to remove most of the water content, leaving mainly a sugary syrup. This process includes plenty of testing, stirring, and skimming off the sugary foam that bubbles on top. The foam contains the impurities in the sap; the longer you cook the syrup, the more foam you will have. It takes more than 30 gallons (114 liters) of sap to make a single gallon (3.78 liters) of maple syrup.

The completed syrup is then graded and poured into waiting containers. Syrup is given a grade based on consistency, color and flavor. The cream of the crop is given the title of fancy. Fancy syrup is very light in color and has a delicate maple flavor. Most people who create maple syrup prefer the grade A medium amber. Grade A has a more robust maple flavor. Whatever grade you choose, maple syrup will be a great accompaniment to your pancakes.


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Post 4

Is maple syrup gluten free?

Post 3

Some fun facts about maple syrup:

A gallon of maple syrup weighs about eleven pounds.

A maple tree is around 40 years old before it is ever tapped.

Maple season lasts up to six weeks but the sap flow is heaviest for up to 20 days.

Post 2

@medicchristy: It has been said that the Indians did discover maple syrup. Legend has it; they threw a tomahawk at a maple tree. The sap flowed down into a container that had been left at the base of the tree. The Indians thought this liquid to be water and placed it over a fire to heat it. It boiled and produced a sticky, sweet substance. The Indians called it maple syrup since it came from the maple tree.

True or not? We may never know.

Post 1

Is it true that Indians discovered Maple Syrup?

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