To me, nothing says Canada more than Maple Syrup! In fact, the maple tree is so important to Canada that the maple leaf even appears on the country’s flag!
The indigenous peoples of North America were tapping trees and producing the sweet treat long before European settlers arrived and adopted the practice themselves. There are many ancient stories and legends that mention that very special time, once a year, when maple syrup can be harvested. Some names for it were the “sugaring off period” or “sugar month”. Sounds yummy, right?
But do you know how maple sap (or maple water) goes from the tree to your breakfast table?
The sap season lasts only about six weeks, and the process of collecting maple water is very hard work. The season usually begins during the last week of February, when syrup producers drill holes in maple trees. A metal spigot is inserted into the tree with a collection bucket. This is the traditional method, and process takes a long time because each bucket must be collected every day, and transported to the sap house.
In the 1950s, some maple producers began to use a new method of collecting sap by attaching a plastic tube to each tree, which led to a central collection tank.
Once collected, the maple water is boiled to create a variety of maple products. Maple syrup, maple butter, and maple taffy are a few of the tasty options. During my visit I tried a little bit of each!