What is National Maple Syrup Day?
National Maple Syrup Day is on December 17! This viscous yet delicious condiment that is just as versatile as it is tasty; people enjoy it drizzled over everything: from pancakes, to eggs, to salads, to barbecue, this sugary substance has more potential than some give it credit for. On December 17, pour away!
History of National Maple Syrup Day
The origins of the production of maple syrup can be traced back thousands of years to the northeastern region of the United States. There, it was first gleaned from the abundant maple tree population by indigenous peoples. While it is uncertain as to how and why exactly the extraction process first began, it is inarguable that maple sap became a key ingredient in a variety of dishes.
The arrival of European colonists would allow for the introduction of maple syrup to the Old World, and their love for the taste of the arboreal byproduct was matched by their appreciation for its utility. It was a popular substitute for cane sugar, as this had to be imported from the West Indies region, and its ability to exist in both liquid and crystallized form made it an ideal source for concentrated sugar. The colonists’ extraction methods differed from those of the indigenous peoples, and they would serve as the foundation for several subsequent iterations upon the process. Some maple trees may have even seen dozens of changes to the extraction procedures used upon them, as they can continue to be tapped for sap for more than 100 years!
Today, the consumption of maple syrup is no longer reserved for chieftains or special celebratory events. It is not only used across the world, but production chains have even sprung up in countries like Japan and South Korea. Canada now produces the vast majority of the world’s maple syrup supply with its total exports valued at more than $270 million. It may have happened at the rate of molasses, but maple syrup is now known (and loved) far beyond the pocket of the northeast.
National Maple Syrup Day timeline
The Scent of Syrup
First feared as an instance of chemical warfare, the mysterious appearance of the smell of maple syrup in the streets of New York City is found to originate from a nearby food processing factory in New Jersey.
Speeding Things Up
A multitude of technological advances in this decade increases the efficiency of the maple syrup production process.
Maple as a Staple
Food rations during WWII give cause for northeasterners to substitute their normal sweeteners for maple syrup and maple sugar.
The Flat Track
The introduction of flat sheet pans in the sap boiling process allows for faster evaporation.
National Maple Syrup Day Traditions
Drink Maple Syrup!
While you might use maple syrup throughout the year in and over your foods, make it a tradition to mix it up by mixing it into teas, coffees, or even mugs of hot chocolate! You can even try out different grades with different drinks to mix it up year-to-year.
Make a Maple Pilgrimage
While not everyone may have the privilege to do this, it is serendipitous than National Maple Syrup Day falls very close to the Christmas holidays. If it’s within your means, and you’re a hardcore maple syrup lover, consider making it a tradition to vacation to places like Vermont or Quebec to really show your syrupy passion!
National Maple Syrup Day Stats
40 gallons of sap
Approximately 40 gallons of maple sap are required to produce just one gallon of maple syrup! If you think that conversion rate is crazy, consider that maple syrup production is arguably the most efficient today than it’s ever been.
Canada exports 70%
According to the New York Times, Canada is responsible for roughly 70% of the world’s total supply of maple syrup. Fitting for the country that sports the tree’s leaf on its flag!
6 million pounds stolen
In 2012, 6 millions pounds of maple syrup was stolen from the syrup stockpile held by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. While authorities managed to track down dozens of people responsible for the theft, about one-third of their take is still to be recovered.
National Maple Syrup Day FAQs
Is Canada the largest producer of maple syrup?
Canada is the largest producer of maple syrup! Within the country, the province of Quebec is responsible for the majority of syrup output.
How is maple syrup made?
Pure maple syrup is produced by first extracting the somewhat sweet sap of the sugar maple tree and then concentrating the sap through a process of heating and evaporation.
What is the best grade of maple syrup?
It depends on your flavor preference! There are four categorizations of Grade A maple syrup, and they range between golden, amber, dark, and very dark colorings with distinct flavors to match.
Is real maple syrup thick or thin?
Pure, natural maple syrup is a thinner substance; thicker syrups that some are familiar with are denser due to the use of corn syrup in the mixture with additional maple flavoring.
National Maple Syrup Day Activities
Make Your Own!
You can find plenty of maple syrup tapping and processing kits online! Get out there, find a tree, and collect that liquid gold!
Head to the supermarket and pick up a few different kinds of maple syrup, take ‘em on home, and sample each over a silver dollar pancake to find out which of the many selections might be your favorite!
Lap up the local stuff
For those of you lucky enough to live in a state that produces maple syrup from native trees, get out and support your local maple syrup producers by buying a nice big jug of their finest batch!
Why We Love National Maple Syrup Day
It pairs with more things than you can imagine
Sure, you've tried it on your pancakes, waffles, and french toast — but have you ever let maple syrup make its way to your bacon? Don't just limit yourself to breakfast, though. Maple syrup makes an awesome glaze for all sorts of root vegetables, bringing out flavors you might have never noticed.
It's a food worth stealing
There aren't many foods that would seem worthwhile to stage a heist around. But with barrels of maple syrup valued at over a thousand dollars each, it's easy to see why a truckload might be worth a boatload of cash.
It's full of sugar
While you might be wise to brush your teeth after having those maple syrup-soaked pancakes, it's hard not to love something that's mostly sugar!