Maple syrup

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Maple syrup is a syrup made from the sap of sugar maple, red maple or black maple trees. In cold climate areas, these trees store starch in their stems and roots before the winter; the starch is then converted to sugar and rises in the sap in the spring. Maple trees can be tapped and the exuded sap collected and concentrated by heating to evaporate the water. Quebec, Canada, produces most of the world's supply of maple syrup.

Maple syrup was first collected and used by Native Americans and First Nations, and was later adopted by European settlers. It is most often eaten with waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, crumpets, and French toast. It is also used as an ingredient in baking, or as a sweetener and flavoring agent. Sucrose is the most prevalent sugar in maple syrup.

Maple syrup is graded according to the Canada, US or Vermont scales based on its density and translucency. Syrups must be at least 66 percent sugar to qualify as "maple syrup" in Canada; in the US, any syrup not made almost entirely from maple sap cannot be labeled as "maple". Maple syrup and the sugar maple tree are symbols of Canada and several US states, particularly Vermont.

Contents

History

Native Americans

Aboriginal peoples living in the northeastern part of North America were the first people known to have produced maple syrup and maple sugar. According to their oral traditions, as well as archaeological evidence, maple tree sap, which they called "sweet water" or "Sinzibuckwud" (lit. "drawn from trees"),[1] was being processed for its sugar content long before Europeans arrived in the region.[2] There are no authenticated accounts of maple syrup production and consumption among early aboriginal groups.[3] Various legends exist as to the origins of maple syrup production; one of the most popular involves maple sap being used to cook venison served to a chief.[1] Many aboriginal dishes replaced the salt traditional in Europe with maple sugar or syrup.[1]

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