Maple syrup is produced from the maple tree of the sycamore family, originally native to South America, but now exten- sively cultivated in the United States and Canada. Two species of the tree produce the syrup – sugar maple (the main source) and black maple.
The syrup is produced from the sap of the tree, which is drawn off in the spring. An average of 40 gallons of sap are needed to produce 1 gallon of syrup – which justifies the high cost of the finished product. The sap undergoes a process of evaporation, during which it acquires its colour and flavour and becomes a syrup. The syrup can be further processed into maple sugar, or fermented to make maple vinegar.
Maple syrup is used on its own as a flavouring and cooking ingredient, poured over desserts and cakes, or made into hard or soft toffee-like sweets .