Maple syrup production

Did you know? 80% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada, in particular from Québec, the easternmost, and only Francophone province.

maple-syrup-production

There are 150 species of maple in the world, but only three of these are used in maple syrup production:

  • The sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
  • The black maple (A. nigrum)
  • The red maple (A. rubrum)

The harvesting of maple syrup takes place in the spring, when the overnight temperature hovers around 0°C.

Production dictated by the rhythms of nature

Sugar season begins at the end of February and continues into April.  The particular climactic conditions of this period facilitate the flow of sap from inside the maple tree to the surface. 

The sap is drawn out through a small hole in the bark, positioned at a height of roughly 1.5 metre from the ground. Through a dense network of small pipes, the sap is conveyed into a collection tub.

Where does maple sap come from?

Sap production is the result of a physical reaction caused by thermal variations in temperatures around 0° C.

In summer maple trees produce sugar via photosynthesis. The sugar fuels the tree’s cellular respiration, and supports growth; excess sugar accumulates in the roots, in the form of starch.

In spring, the cycle of  nightly frosts, followed by melting, and then more frost activates lymphatic flow. Overnight, the branches cool down, causing the air inside them to contract. The sap inside the branch freezes, increasing its volume. Following this change in volume, water rises through the tree, transporting sugars from the roots to the branches. 

During the day, the heat of the sun warms the branches of the maple tree. The sap reverts back from a solid to its liquid state and the air contained within the tree fibres expands again. 

This mechanical action creates pressure, which pushes the sap outwards towards the trunk of the tree. At this point, the sap is harvested into buckets or other suitable receptacles.

100% pure maple syrup

From the collection tub, the sap then enters the evaporator, a sort of giant kettle.  As the water evaporates little by little, the more concentrated liquid begins to move into the next stage of the process, taking on the characteristic amber colour.

Depending on the harvest period, the finished maple syrup takes on a more or less intense colour: lighter at the beginning of the season, and very dark at the end of harvest. 

The concentrated maple sap, which was originally 98% water and 2% sugar, has now achieved a composition of 67% sugar.

Now that we have our syrup, the next steps are filtering and bottling. Alternatively, the syrup can be transferred into suitable steel containers for further processing.

The production of maple syrup requires only heat for evaporation, and needs no preservatives, colorants, thickeners, or added sugars. Depending on the climactic conditions, sugar season lasts between 4 and 6 weeks;  each maple tree produces on average 10-12 litres of sap

The production of maple syrup requires only heat for evaporation, and needs no preservatives, colorants, thickeners, or added sugars. Depending on the climactic conditions, sugar season lasts between 4 and 6 weeks;  each maple tree produces on average 10-12 litres of sap

In order to produce a 1 litre carafe of pure maple syrup, the necessary elements are:

  • Specific climactic conditions
  • 4-6 weeks of time
  • A labour of patience passed down from generation to generation.

Discover our entire range of maple syrup in our online shop.