The colour and flavour of pure Incredible Maple Syrup change over the course of the sugaring season.
Nature gives nuances to maple. Early in spring, the syrup is generally clear with a light sweetness. As the season progresses, it gets darker and more caramelized. This is why maple syrup is classified by colour and flavour — so chefs and foodies can make a choice that will suit their taste and purpose.
Maple Syrup in its Range of Colours and Flavours
Golden Maple Syrup, Delicate Taste
This maple syrup comes from sap harvested at the very start of sugaring season. You will notice a light golden hue and mild, delicate flavour. Wonderful on yogourt and ice cream.
Amber Maple Syrup, Rich Taste
Pure and rich in flavour, with a magnificent amber colouring, this maple syrup is ideal for vinaigrettes and adding a fine accent to many dishes and desserts.
Dark Maple Syrup, Robust Taste
This syrup has a caramelized, more pronounced maple flavour, making it a favourite for use in cooking, baking, and sauce-making. It will take your fruit dishes to the next level!
Very Dark Maple Syrup, Strong Taste
This maple syrup is from sap gathered at the very end of the season and therefore has the strongest taste of all. It adds rich, distinctive maple flavour, as well as nose and colour, to sauces and glazes.
There are more than 150 species of maple tree in the world. But the sugar and red varieties are the ones that give us maple sap (or maple water), indispensable to the production of maple syrup. The frigid temperatures of the Québec winter are followed by the mild springtime conditions that cause this precious sap to flow, and to be gathered by the maple producers of Québec.
How Maple Sap Flows
In summer, the maple tree produces sugar through photosynthesis. This sugar powers the tree’s cellular respiration, promotes its growth, and stores as starch in its roots.
In spring, the alternating night-time frost and daytime thaw promotes the flow of sap through the maple tree. During the cold night, its branches freeze, causing the gas in its fibres to contract. The sap also freezes but, unlike the gas, it expands in the tree’s fibres. All night long, the water absorbed by the roots rises up through the tree, soaking up the sugar reserves as it goes.
When daytime comes, the air warms and thaws the tree’s branches. The heat liquifies the sap, and the gas in the tree’s fibres begins to expand again. This causes pressure that pushes the sweetened sap out toward the tree trunk. And this is how the maple sap flows.
How Maple Sap is Harvested
Traditionally, people collected maple sap by hanging pails on taps hammered into the trees. As these pails filled, they were poured by hand into larger containers that were then driven to the sugar shack.
Today, for the most part, maple sap is collected with tubing systems, plastic lines attached to spiles at multiple trees. These tubes connect to conduits that take the sap, by gravity or vacuum, directly to the sugar shack.
How Maple Sap Becomes Maple Syrup
The maple sap goes into large stainless steel tanks and then into a reverse osmosis unit or straight into an evaporator, where it will be set to boil and made into maple syrup. It takes an average 40 litres of sap to make one litre of syrup. Reverse osmosis technology concentrates the sugar content of the maple sap.
Maple sap becomes maple syrup when it reaches a sugar content of 66%, also known as 66° Brix.