Mohawk Valley Trading Company

Maple Syrup - Pure, Grade A Dark, Robust Maple Syrup in Glass Bottles

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Maple Syrup

 

Pure Maple Syrup

Grade A Dark, Robust Maple Syrup from The Mohawk Valley Trading Company comes in glass bottles and is made primarily from sugar maple sap, which is preferred for maple syrup production because it has an average sugar content of two percent. Sap from other maple species is usually lower in sugar content, and about twice as much is needed to produce the same amount of finished syrup.

Grade A Dark, Robust Maple Syrup was formerly called Grade B.

Maple Syrup - The Mowhawk Valley Trading Company


32 oz. Glass Bottle...$30.00
16 oz. Glass Bottle...$15.00

Refrigerate After Opening

To order, please email us at info@tenonanatche.com, with the number and size of bottles you want, along with your ship to information and phone number, and we will get back to you with a quote.

 
About Maple Syrup
 
Maple syrup is made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, black maple, or red maple trees, however it can also be made from other maple species. Maple syrup production is mainly located in northeastern North America; specifically the northeastern states (including New York, Vermont and Maine) and the southeastern parts of Quebec and Ontario, Canada. Given the correct weather conditions, it can be made anywhere in the habitat range of the maple trees. In cold environments, the trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then turned to sugar that rises in the sap in the spring.
 
Indigenous peoples from the northeastern part of North America were the first group known to produce maple syrup and maple sugar. Aboriginal oral traditions and archaeological evidence suggest that maple tree sap was being turned into syrup long before Europeans arrived. European settlers adopted the practice and advanced production methods. 

Several tribal legends passed on through oral story telling explain how maple syrup production began. Some stories give credit to the squirrel, the Nanabozho or the Glooskap. Another popular story claims that venison was cooked in tree sap and served to the chief. The sugaring season became an important time for aboriginal tribes. Rituals were celebrated based around sugaring and celebrating the first full moon of spring, the Sugar Moon. Maple syrup was used as a sweetener and a flavor enhancer.

Native Americans collected syrup using primitive tools. They carved v-shaped notches into the tree trunks using sharp stones, they diverted the sap flow with concave pieces of bark or reeds into birch bark buckets. The sap was concentrated by freezing the sap and removing the frozen water or by dropping hot stones into the buckets to evaporate the water. The production of maple syrup is one of the only agricultural processes that evolved in North America.
 
Early European colonists in the northeastern part of North America learned the basics of maple syrup collection from the native people. The indigenous people showed the colonists when and which trees to tap. Fur trader and European settlers were involved in the maple harvest by the 1680’s. The Europeans adapted the methods used by the Native Americans to make the harvest less destructive and more sustainable. Instead of slicing the bark to release the sap the Europeans used augers to drill small holes into the trees. This method is similar to what is used today. Maple syrup was an important commodity in liquid and sugar form in the 17th and 18th centuries because it was used in place of cane sugar. Cane sugar was expensive because it had to be imported from the West Indies.
 
Maple syrup and sugar have played an important role in the history of the United States. After the passage of the 1764 Sugar Act, which imposed high tariffs on imported sugar, maple sugar became even more popular.

Before he became president, Thomas Jefferson liked the idea that maple sugar could be produced by citizens of the new nation and help sever it’s dependence on sugar grown on plantations in the British Caribbean using slave labor. At the end of a visit to Vermont, in a speech he gave in Bennington, Jefferson said, "Attention to our sugar orchards is essentially necessary to secure the independence of our country."

Wooden buckets were made by cutting a tree down and into segments; the segments were hollowed out from one end until a bucket was created. The wooden buckets are seamless and water tight. After the sap filled the buckets it was transferred to larger containers like barrels, hollowed-out logs or large kettles. These vessels were transported to the sugar shacks by foot or with the assistance of draft animals.

The process of collecting and boiling syrup was energy-intensive and time-consuming. After being collected from the trees the sap had to be transported to the sugar shack where it would be boiled. Large collection areas usually had a central sugar shack where all all of the syrup was made. Draft horses or oxen were used to pull large barrels of sap to the boiling location. The sap was poured into large metal kettles and boiled over large fires until the desired consistency was reached.

Modern Era

In the 1860’s syrup production underwent a major evolution. The large round kettles were replaced with large flat pans. Flat pans are more efficient for condensing syrup because they provide more surface area for evaporation. Following the civil war cane sugar overtook maple sugar as the top sweetener in the United States. Many marketing efforts were put in place to promote maple syrup. In 1858 the first evaporator was patented. In 1872 a more advanced evaporator was developed, it decreased the boiling time and was crafted with two pans and a metal firebox. Circa 1900 the design was adapted again. The bottoms of the evaporating pans were bent into a series of flues. This design increased the surface area of the heat source and further decreased boiling time.

As technology advanced the metal buckets were replaced by plastic bags that allow the sap collectors to judge how much sap has been collected from a distance. The draft animals used to haul barrels of sap were replaced by tractors. Some produced used metal tubing to move sap to the evaporator and motor-powered tappers but these techniques were not widely used. New filtration methods were developed to keep contaminates out of the syrup and producers began utilizing different heating methods. Wood was still popular but oil, natural gas, propane and steam were also used.

The 1970s were responsible for a large number to technological changes. Plastic tubing systems were perfected and largely replaced the bucket and bag systems. Lines led from the trees directly to the sap house eliminating the need for tractors to move large barrels of sap. The tube systems were made more efficient with the introduction of vacuum pumps and pre-heaters that recycled heat. Reverse-osmosis machines were introduced to remove water from the sap, shortening the boiling time and increasing efficiency.

Advancements in syrup production continue to be made. Improvements in vacuum pumps, tubing, filtering techniques, storage containers and preheaters have been made over the last 20 years. The University of Vermont developed a new type of wood tap that increases production, lowers contamination and eliminates the need for chemical applications at the bore hole.

Changes in technology have streamlined the process of making maple syrup but they have not changed the methods. After the sap is collected it is boiled down to remove the water and make a pure maple syrup free of chemicals or additives. It takes approximately 43 gallons of sap with 2% sugar to make one gallon of maple syrup. Sap is usually boiled at 7.4°F above the boiling point of water; the exact temperature is based on height above sea level. The initial boiling is usually done in a large pan of a series of evaporators; it is often drawn off into smaller pans for finishing under more control.
 
A stand of maple trees used to produce maple syrup is known as a "sugarwood" or "sugarbush". Special buildings are often built to house the evaporating equipment; they usually have a special roof to allow steam to escape. These buildings are known as "sugar shacks," "sugar houses" and "sugar shanties”. Maple syrup making is one of the last truly seasonal industries. Sugaring starts early in the spring, when the days are above freezing but the night time temperatures dip below freezing. Due to the large quantity of sap needed to make syrup sugaring is only done in areas with large tree populations. Holes are bored in the trunk, usually 3-4 feet off the ground. Small trees will only have a single hole while larger trees will have 2 or more. Spouts are inserted into the holes to direct the sap into the buckets hanging from the spout. The first spouts were wooden; today they are made from metal.

Maple trees are not tapped until they reach the diameter of 10 inches, the trees are usually between 30 and 40 years old when tapped. Young trees (diameter 10-17 inches) are only tapped once, trees with a diameter of 18-24 inches are tapped twice and larger trees have 3 taps inserted. The average maple tree will produce 9.2 to 13 gallons of sap each season, up to 3.2 US gallons per day. This is approximately 7% of its total sap. Depending on the weather the sugaring season lasts for four to eight weeks. Starch stored in the roots for the winter rises through the trunk as sugary sap, allowing it to be tapped during the day. Although taps are typically left in place overnight sap is not collected at night because the temperature drop inhibits sap flow. Less common than spring tapping some producers also tap in autumn. Maples can be tapped for sap until they are over 100 years old.


Maple trees are tapped by boring holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap. Traditionally metal taps and buckets were used to collect sap from each tree; today many producers have replaced the bucket system with plastic tubing running to a central collection point. The sap is heated, evaporating most of the water, leaving the concentrated sugar syrup.
 
Sap collecting lasts as long as the sap remains ‘sweet’. The duration of the collecting season is based on weather conditions. If the weather is too cold the sap will not run and syrup production will stop. If the weather is too warn the buds will break and the sap will change. The sap will no longer taste sweet and will acquire an unpleasant taste, possibly because of an increase in amino acids.
 
The boiling process must be strictly controlled to result in the desired sugar content. If the syrup is not boiled for long enough it will be watery and can easily spoil. Syrup that is boiled too long with crystallize and turn onto maple sugar. Finished maple syrup has a density of 66° on the Brix scale. After boiling the syrup is filtered to remove “sugar sand” crystals formed from sugar and calcium malate. Sugar sand is not toxic but can add a gritty texture to finished syrup. The syrup is then graded and bottled while still hot, usually around 180°F or higher. Containers are made from glass, metal or coated plastic and are flipped after filling to allow the hot syrup to sterilize the cap. Maple syrup can be intentionally heated longer to create maple sugar, maple cream or butter and maple candy.

Contaminants in the boiling equipment (most likely cleaners), fermentation in sap that has sat too long, and sap collected too late in the season can all cause off-flavored syrup. It is sometimes, though not always possible to remove these flavors through processing.
 
The province of Quebec in Canada is responsible for about three-quarters of the world's output; in the United States Vermont is the largest producer, generating about 5.5 percent of the global supply.

Some other countries have produced maple syrup on a small scale, for example in Japan and South Korea. In South Korea it is traditional to consume gorosoe (maple sap) instead of processing it into syrup. In 2010 10.1 percent of Canada's maple syrup exports went to Japan.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan also produce maple syrup using the box elder or Manitoba maple. The yield from a Manitoba maple tree is usually less than half that of a similarly sized sugar maple tree. The syrup from a Manitoba maple has a different flavor than sugar-maple syrup; the tree's sap flows more slowly and it contains less sugar.

Maple syrup is ranked or graded according to the United States, Vermont, or Canada scales based on its translucency and density. Sucrose is the most prevalent sugar in maple syrup and small amounts of Fructose and Glucose are also present. In Canada, syrups must be at least 66 percent sugar and be made exclusively from maple sap to qualify as maple syrup. In the United States, syrups must be made almost entirely from maple sap to be labeled as "maple”, small amounts of substances such as salt are allowed. “Maple flavored” syrups must contain real maple syrup but salt, chemical preservatives and defoaming agents are allowed.

The United States has its own grading standards. Syrup is divided into two grades: Grade A and Grade B. Grade A is further divided into three levels: Light Amber or Fancy, Medium Amber, and Dark Amber. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets grading system is similar and is roughly the same, especially for lighter syrups, but designates grades using letters: "AA", "A", etc. The Vermont grading system maintains a slightly higher standard of product density (measured on the Baumé scale). New Hampshire holds a similar standard, but does not have a separate state grading scale. The Vermont-graded product has 0.9 percent more sugar and therefore less water in its composition than US-graded. Commercial or Grade C syrup (syrup not for table use) is also produced under the Vermont system. Vermont inspectors strictly enforce syrup grading regulations, and will fine producers up to $1000 for incorrectly labeling syrup.

Extra Light and Grade A typically have the mildest maple flavor. Grade B is very dark with a strong maple flavor. The dark grades of syrup are preferred for cooking and baking but some specialty dark syrups are produced for table use. People who appreciate the strong maple flavor use Grade B exclusively. The US classification of maple syrup depends on its translucence. US Grade A Light Amber has to be more than 75 percent translucent, US Grade A Medium Amber has to be 60.5 to 74.9 percent translucent, US Grade A Dark Amber has to be 44.0 to 60.4 percent translucent, and US Grade B is any product less than 44.0 percent translucent.

The Canadian ranking system is overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Syrup is designated with one of three grades, each with several color classes. The grades are Canada No. 1, including Extra Light, Light, and Medium; No. 2 Amber; and No. 3 Dark or any other ungraded category. Producers in Ontario and Québec have the choice of following either provincial or federal grading guidelines. The grading systems in Québec and Ontario are slightly different from the federal. In Québec there are two categories (Number 1, with four color classes, and Number 2, with five color classes). Ontario's producers have two "number" grades: 1, with three color classes; and 2, which is typically referred to as "Ontario Amber" when produced and sold in the province. A typical yield for a maple syrup producer will be between 25 and 30 percent of each of the #1 colors, 10 percent #2 Amber, and 2 percent #3 Dark.
 
The caloric content of maple syrup is similar to sugar. However 13 grams of maple syrup (a little less than a tablespoon) contains 22% of the FDA daily value of manganese. The same amount of syrup contains 3.7% of the daily value of zinc. Maple syrup has 15 times as much calcium as honey and 1/10 of the sodium.

Scientists are studying the natural phenols found in maple syrup for potentially beneficial antioxidant compounds relevant to type 2 diabetes. Thirty four new compounds have been discovered, 5 of which have never been seen in nature. One of those new compounds is quebecol, a phenolic compound created when maple sap is heated and reduced to make syrup.

The three species of maple trees are predominantly used to produce maple syrup are the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), the black maple (A. nigrum), and the red maple (A. rubrum). These species are preferred because of the high sugar content (roughly two to five percent) in the sap. Some botanists include the black maple as a subspecies of A. saccharum, the sugar maple. Red maple has a shorter season which alters the flavor of the sap because it buds earlier than sugar and black maples.

Not all species of maple (Acer) are used as sources of sap for producing maple syrup but the box elder or Manitoba maple (Acer negundo), the silver maple (A. sacharinum), and the bigleaf maple (A. macrophyllum) are sometimes used. Tree sap syrups may also be produced from palm trees, birch trees and other sources.
 
 

 


To order, please email us at info@tenonanatche.com or call
 
Tel 315-519-2640

7:00am - 7:00pm - 7 Days a Week

Mohawk Valley Trading Co.
901 Broad St
Utica, NY 13501

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