How maple syrup is made?
Maple products from Québec come from a single ingredient: the sap of maple trees. The flow of sap is a natural phenomenon, unique to North America. It occurs each spring when daytime and nighttime temperatures alternate above and below freezing. Québec maple producers collect the sap, and take it to the sugar shack for evaporation and processing into maple products. It’s a complex process that demands knowledge and precision. In summertime, maple trees produce sugar through photosynthesis. Sugar allows the trees’ cells to breathe, promotes growth, and accumulates starch in the roots. In the spring, the alternating freeze/thaw cycle between night and day promotes the flow of maple sap. At night, the cold freezes the tree’s branches, causing the gasses in their fibres to contract. The sap also freezes but, contrary to the gas, it expands in the tree fibres. All night, the water absorbed by the roots rises up through the trunk and, as it does so, distributes the sugar reserves. When the sun comes up, the temperature rises and the tree branches thaw. The daytime warmth returns the sap to liquid state and the gas in the tree fibres expands again. This creates pressure and the sugary sap is pushed through the trunk. And this is how sap flows through the maple tree. Traditionally, maple sap in Québec was collected in pails hung on the trees. The maple producer would pour the maple water that dripped out into larger containers and drive them back to the sugar shack. It’s a lot different today. For the most part, maple water is gathered through a system of tubing attached to the trees by small nicks. The tubes connect to larger conveyance tubes that carry the maple water, by gravity or pumping, to the sugar shack. The maple water comes to huge stainless steel containers and sent to a reverse osmosis unit or directly to the evaporator, before being set to boil and become maple syrup. It takes an average of 40 litres of maple water to make 1 litre of syrup. Reverse osmosis (RO) is a technology that concentrates sugar in the sap, helping to increase it, for example, from 3% to 20%. This step reduces heating costs and the environmental impact of boiling. Maple water becomes maple syrup when it reaches 66 degrees Brix or a sugar concentration level of 66%. . * Source http://www.siropderable.ca