Maple Facts

  1. sugar on snowMaple sap is a sweet, water like liquid that is collected from the maple trees.
  2. Rock Maples make the best sugar maples.
  3. A high concentration of sugar maples is called a sugarbush.
  4. The building that the maple syrup is produced is called a sugarhouse.
  5. The person who makes the maple syrup is called a sugarmaker.
  6. Native Americans were the first sugarmakers and they taught the Europeans all about the process.
  7. Native Americans and the first pioneers made maple sugar because it was easier for them to store.
  8. Forty gallons of sap is gathered to make one gallon of maple syrup.
  9. Maple sugar is made by boiling the syrup to a high temperature, to reduce the water content and then stirring until a sugar is formed.
  10. Maple candy and maple cream are made of pure maple syrup. The difference is in the temperature the syrup is boiled, the cooling process and the stirring process.
  11. The evaporator is the machine used today to boil away (or evaporate) the water from the sap, leaving the rich, sweet maple syrup.
  12. All Vermont maple syrup, regardless of its grade, is boiled to a density (or thickness) of 32.0 on the Baume scale. That temperature is 7 degrees above the boiling point of water.
  13. In Vermont, there are four grades of maple syrup that you can purchase: Golden Delicate Taste, Amber Rich Taste, Dark Robust Taste and Very Dark Strong Taste.
  14. A maple tree should be about 40 years old or 8 inches in diameter to be tapped.
  15. The sap “runs” when the temperatures fall below freezing at night and then thaws during the day. The freezing point is 32 degrees F.
  16. Sugarmakers are always experimenting and looking for new ideas to take better care of the trees in their sugarbush.Cat
  17. The trees release their sap in the springtime (March to April) when they start to wake up from the long winter’s nap.
  18. Maple sap is what the tree uses to make buds.
  19. When the trees have made buds, the time to make syrup has ended. The syrup will become very bitter to taste after the budding.
  20. During the summer the trees make starch that is stored and turned to sugar.
  21. Some sugarmakers still use buckets, but new, plastic tubing has allowed sugarmakers to tap trees that were once difficult to visit each day to gather sap during the season.
  22. When the sugarmaker sees nighttime freezes followed by warm days in the forecast, he taps his trees.
  23. Trees are tapped by drilling a hole in the trunk of the tree and inserting a spout to catch the sap in a bucket or pipeline. The spout is carefully tapped into the hole with a small hammer.
  24. A new tap hole must be made each year.
  25. Healthy trees heal old tap wounds within three years and have large crowns of branches and leaves during the summer.
  26. Sugarmakers often walk their sugarwoods looking for signs of disease and determining the health of the trees throughout the year.
  27. For several months before the sap flows, sugarmakers work in the woods every day, clearing branches off maple pipelines and roads that will be used during the sugaring season or repairing damage to their pipelines caused by the woodland animals and weather.
  28. After the maple season, the sugarmaker spends many hours in the sugarhouse cleaning all the equipment so it will be in good repair for the next year.
  29. If a sap run is long, a sugarmaker will work through the night and until morning making maple syrup. It’s not unusual for the sap to run 3 days or longer.
  30. Maple sap must be kept cold and processed right away to make the best quality maple syrup.
  31. Vermont makes more maple syrup than any other state in the US.


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