Apr 07

The Making of Maple Syrup

During a visit with my friend, Denis Tondreau, I receive a lesson–

1. This year has been the latest start in recent memory for maple sap to run in Ottawa because of the extended winter

2. It must be around 5 degrees Celsius during the day and subzero at night to get maximum amount of sap from each tree

3. During the day, the warming of the tree causes the sap stored in its root ball to migrate up to its branches. Some of the sap is intercepted by drilling a ¼ inch hole, inserting a spout in the tree then hanging a pail below the spout or adding a pipe to duct the sap away.

4. Provided temperature is below freezing at night, sap returns to its roots and the whole process starts over again the following day when temps rise (hopefully) to 5 degrees

5. Thickening the syrup is a 40:1 process, 40 units of sap produces 1 unit of syrup

6. By having an open stove such as the one Denis built above fed/heated by firewood as opposed to an enclosed gas oven means that (good) impurities and flavors enter into the syrup

7. I can attest to that since I drank an ounce straight from the tap/mmm good

8. This art descends from native lore

9. Mostly from tribes in Upper and Lower Canada not plains tribes who were more hunter and gatherers as opposed to farmers

10. It costs $15 per liter and is a good so prized that people have been known to pull up to the maple syrup reserve (yes, they have one of those in Québec) with two tankers–one empty and the other filled with water

11. They pump maple syrup into the empty tanker and replace what they have taken by filling the reserve back up with H2O from the other one, then disappearing into the night not to have the theft found out for months

12. Trees that are leaning over are, for some reason, top producers

13. Maple trees that are NOT huge produce more sap since they must compete with other nearby trees for resources (sun and in-ground nutrients)

14. Competition makes individuals (trees or humans) run faster

15. Large diameter suburban trees may look nice but aren’t likely to produce as much sap as scrawny rural ones who have to fight for their right (to come) to party…

@ profbruce

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.