Maple syrup is a concentrated liquid obtained from Canadian maple trees. With 80–90% of global production, Canada is the largest exporter of maple syrup. The United States also produces large amounts.
From Wikipedia: “Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species.”
“Maple syrup and its various artificial imitations are widely used as toppings for pancakes, waffles, and French toast in North America. They can also be used to flavour a variety of foods, including fritters, ice cream, hot cereal, fresh fruit, and sausages. It is also used as sweetener for granola, applesauce, baked beans, candied sweet potatoes, winter squash, cakes, pies, breads, tea, coffee, and hot toddies. Maple syrup can also be used as a replacement for honey in wine (mead).”
“The basic ingredient in maple syrup is the sap from the xylem of sugar maple or various other species of maple trees. It consists primarily of sucrose and water, with small amounts of the monosaccharides glucose and fructose from the invert sugar created in the boiling process.
In a 100 g amount, maple syrup provides 260 calories and is composed of 32% water by weight, 67% carbohydrates (90% of which are sugars), and no appreciable protein or fat. Maple syrup is generally low in overall micronutrient content, although manganese and riboflavin are at high levels along with moderate amounts of zinc and calcium. It also contains trace amounts of amino acids which increase in content as sap flow occurs.”
“Maples are usually tapped beginning at 30 to 40 years of age. Each tree can support between one and three taps, depending on its trunk diameter. The average maple tree will produce 35 to 50 litres (9.2 to 13.2 US gal) of sap per season, up to 12 litres (3.2 US gal) per day. This is roughly equal to 7% of its total sap. Seasons last for four to eight weeks, depending on the weather. During the day, starch stored in the roots for the winter rises through the trunk as sugary sap, allowing it to be tapped. Sap is not tapped at night because the temperature drop inhibits sap flow, although taps are typically left in place overnight. Some producers also tap in autumn, though this practice is less common than spring tapping. Maples can continue to be tapped for sap until they are over 100 years old.”
“Sap must first be collected and boiled down to obtain pure syrup without chemical agents or preservatives. Maple syrup is made by boiling between 20 and 50 volumes of sap (depending on its concentration) over an open fire until 1 volume of syrup is obtained, usually at a temperature 4.1 °C (7.4 °F) over the boiling point of water. As the boiling point of water varies with changes in air pressure the correct value for pure water is determined at the place where the syrup is being produced, each time evaporation is begun and periodically throughout the day. Syrup can be boiled entirely over one heat source or can be drawn off into smaller batches and boiled at a more controlled temperature. ...
The higher the sugar content of the sap, the fewer the gallons of sap are needed to obtain one gallon of syrup. 57 gallons of sap with 1.5% sugar content will yield 1 gallon of syrup, but only 25 gallons of sap with a 3.5% sugar content are needed to obtain one gallon of syrup. The sap's sugar content is highly variable and will fluctuate even within the same tree.”
Imitations and substitutions:
“In Canada, maple syrup must be made entirely from maple sap, and syrup must have a density of 66° on the Brix scale to be marketed as maple syrup. In the United States, maple syrup must be made almost entirely from maple sap, although small amounts of substances such as salt may be added. Labelling laws prohibit imitation syrups from having "maple" in their names. "Maple-flavoured" syrups include maple syrup but may contain additional ingredients. "Pancake syrup", "waffle syrup", "table syrup", and similarly named syrups are substitutes which are less expensive than maple syrup. In these syrups, the primary ingredient is most often high fructose corn syrup flavoured with sotolon; they have no genuine maple content, and are usually thickened far beyond the viscosity of maple syrup.”