December 16, 2015
Maple syrup is far more exciting than just dressing for pancakes and waffles. From early support from a founding father to a major heist, in honor of National Maple Syrup Day, here are eight facts you didn’t know about nature’s sweet stuff.
1. It Takes 40 Gallons Of Sap To Make One Gallon of Maple Syrup
There’s a reason maple syrup comes with a hefty price tag. It takes a whopping 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
Sap straight from the tree is 98% water and has to be boiled to 219 degrees (F) to become that signature delicious golden syrup.
2. Native Americans Were The First To Discover Maple Syrup
It’s not clear how long the practice of tapping trees for syrup has been in practice, but historians do agree that Native Americans were the first to discover maple syrup. Native Americans made V-shaped incisions on the bark of maple trees and collected the sap in birch buckets before heating it with hot stones.
When European settlers arrived, Native Americans had begun cooking the sap in clay pots over a fire. The colonists took the process one step further with the addition of copper and iron kettles, which allowed the sap to be boiled for a longer time at an even higher temperature, resulting in something closer to the syrup we know today.
3. Benjamin Franklin Was A Huge Fan Of Maple Syrup
One of maple syrup’s earliest advocates was American founding father, Benjamin Franklin. As a huge proponent of the bounty that American soil had to offer, he actively campaigned for maple syrup to become colonial America’s primary sweetener to help us become a more independent nation.
4. There Is An International Maple Syrup Institute In Canada
It’s no secret, Canadians are crazy about all things maple related. The maple leaf is on their flag, after all, and they produce 71% of the world’s syrup. There’s even an International Maple Syrup Institute based in Ontario, Canada. Founded in 1975, the Institute’s mission is to protect and promote maple syrup and other maple products. Tough gig.
5. South Koreans Prefer Sap Over Syrup
Honey wins the prize for having an infinite expiration date, but maple syrup isn’t far behind. Maple syrup will last for years left unopened, and once opened, upwards of 6 months before crystallization occurs. Crystallization is harmless, however, and disappears once the syrup gets reheated.
7. Maple Syrup Was At The Center Of One Of The Biggest Agricultural Heists In History
Don’t let maple syrup substitutes try to fool you with their caramel color. Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth’s are prime examples that looks can be deceiving. These impersonators get made with high fructose corn syrup and a long list of preservatives – there’s not a drop of real syrup in sight.