How Maple Syrup Evaporators Work
Did you know…
That it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup?
Midwinter is sugaring season in the Northeast. Usually beginning in late February and ending in late April, sugaring season lasts from four to six weeks. Conditions are just right when the nights are below freezing, temperatures somewhere in the 20s – and the days are warm – around 40 degrees. The best sap producing days are those when the nights are the coldest and the days are the warmest. Maple sap is concentrated around the Sugar maple roots in the cold of night, and during the warmth of day the sap rises up the tree and out of the holes that have been tapped into the tree.
The maple syrup producer drills holes (tapholes) into the sugar maple trees and inserts taps or spiles into the holes. Sap drips into buckets hung on the trees or into hoses that lead directly to the evaporator. The evaporator is a large metal pan in which the sap is boiled down in the sugar shack.
The sugar shack is where the real action takes place. Sap is boiled down quickly until the sugar in the sap is concentrated into a delicious syrup. Maple syrup is then bottled and used as a syrup or in cooking or candy making.
The sap that is produced earliest in the season is usually the lightest in color and maple flavor. This sap becomes light amber syrup. Throughout the season the sap becomes darker and has a more pronounced maple flavor, so that the darkest syrup is produced towards the end of the sugaring season.
Maple syrup is available in different “grades”, reflecting the color of the sap from earliest in the season to latest. In the United States, maple syrup comes in two different grades, grade A and grade B. Grade A comes in three different subgrades: light (or fancy) amber, medium amber and dark amber. Grade B is darker than Grade A dark amber.
Don’t be confused by the word “fancy.” Everyone who is lucky enough to have tasted different grades of maple syrup knows that maple syrup grade preference is very personal. If you like a light color and flavor, fancy or grade A light may be for you. If you like a robust flavor and color perhaps you would prefer grade B, or Grade A medium amber or dark. Grade B is often used in cooking and candy making but is perfectly delicious on a stack of pancakes if you like a dark colored and serious maple flavor!
Information about Maple Sugaring
Maple Syrup Frequently Asked Questions – Ben answers your questions about using and making maple syrup.
Maple Syrup Products – There is so much more than just maple syrup and candy. Learn about the many delicious and fun ways to enjoy the taste (and aroma) of maple products.
Maple Syrup Tools of the Trade – The art of making maple syrup is an ancient process dating back to the early natives of the Northeast and Canada. Before the Europeans, came these early peoples were making maple syrup in a way that is not so much different from the way it is made today.
Have a Maple-Sugar-on-Snow Party – A ‘maple-sugar-on-snow’ party is a unique way of serving refreshments to a group. Such a party is most satisfactorily managed when fresh, clean snow is available.
Homemade Maple Syrup – Can you make maple syrup at home? You can if you have access to a few sugar maple trees (also known as rock or hard maple trees), some inexpensive equipment, and live in an area that’s conducive to sugaring.
The History of Maple Sugaring – Iroquois Legend has it that, long, long ago, before the settlers ever reached American shores, a young Native American boy watched a squirrel run up the trunk of a maple tree. The squirrel then proceeded to viciously bite the limbs of the tree in several places, deep enough to cause sap to run out.
Information About the Benefits of Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup vs. Cane Sugar – Maple syrup is by far the healthier choice when choosing between maple syrup and cane sugar for sweetening. This is because cane sugar, or table sugar, contains very little but carbohydrates – and calories.
The Maple Syrup Diet – Since Beyonce is known for making it a popular diet it’s also called “The Beyonce Diet.” Before Beyonce, the diet was alternately known as the Master Cleanser, the Lemon Cleanse, the Lemon Cleansing Diet, the Cayenne Pepper Diet, and the Maple Syrup diet
The Maple Syrup Cleanse – The book “Healing for the Age of Enlightenment,” written in 1976 by Stanley Burroughs, introduced the Maple Syrup Cleanse. The main difference between the Maple Syrup Diet and the Maple Syrup Cleanse is that the cleanse goes a couple of steps further than the diet.