Quality maple syrup is sourced from trees starting in the spring months. As the weather starts to change, maple sap starts to flow. Tapping the trees to get maple syrup during the spring months is an all-consuming task for those who want to bring grade A maple syrup to your table. Do you ever wonder what gets the maple syrup ready for you? Or how we keep the health benefits pure maple syrup can bring? We want to share how maple sap runs in the winter and spring.
How maple sap runs in the winter and spring.
Please note that every company will have different maple sap tapping processes. We will share some general rules. However, the maple syrup you buy may have a different flavor depending on the process of the company you buy from. Taking some time to understand how each place’s syrup is collected can help you to pick out the best possible syrup. Here are a few things to keep in mind about maple sap when picking out your next container of maple syrup or bottle of maple glaze.
What kind of trees can be tapped?
Any species of maple tree can be used to make maple syrup. Trees that could be tapped include sugar, black, silver maple, red, and box elder trees. The highest concentration of sugar can be found in the sap of the sugar maple. The sap to syrup ratio is forty gallons of sap to one gallon of syrup. Some trees will have lower concentrations of sugar in the sap. This can mean that they will give lower yields and need closer to 60 gallons of sap for a gallon of syrup. The variety of tree and the amount of sap it will produce in a season can impact its overall syrup production.
What causes sap development?
When temperatures fall at or below freezing the pressure can become negative on the tree. When a maple tree starts to freeze, the sap is sucked into the tree through the large wood pores that connect with the roots. The tree is using the liquid from its roots to keep the tree healthy during a freeze. The longer the freezing period is, the more sap a tree will suck up. This can be ideal for a large sap run when things start to warm up.
This sap will freeze and preserve the tree during the freeze. This sap is what will maintain the tree. When the tree starts to thaw, this sap will start to run. That sap run is what is being collected by most maple syrup companies. Temperatures for this sap run will vary.
Does the entire tree sap at the same time?
One might assume that the entire tree starts to run sap at the same time. This is not actually the case. For some trees, it will depend on the part of the tree exposed to the sun. It could also have a great deal to do with whether the tree is completely in the shade or only part of it. When a tree starts to warm up the sap will flow.
In fact, many syrup companies will tap multiple areas of a tree. This gives the opportunity to collect different sap flows from the tree. If a portion is getting more sun, it may start to run sap before other portions of the tree. By tapping in a few different areas, the company can get a higher yield from each tree.
How does maple sap behave in winter?
During the winter months, trees are preparing for a freeze. This means that they are storing up the sap and preparing for the colder months to preserve the tree. The winter months are often when companies sell their best syrup from a prior year’s yield. The trees are storing up sap during the winter freeze and the level of cold will have a direct impact on the sap that runs in the spring. For most, the maple trees are considered dormant in the winter months.
What happens to maple sap in the spring?
As temperatures start to raise, maple sap will start to flow out of the tree. This can happen from a broken branch or a hole in the tree. Some trees are also tapped for the sap to be used for making maple syrup. There are a variety of collection methods used and results will vary based on the collection methods. That said, all maple trees will start to have sap running as the temperatures start to rise.
Temperatures can vary a great deal in the spring months. This may mean that a tree freezes overnight for a small amount of time and then will release more sap during the morning as it starts to warm up. Maple syrup makers will often monitor the weather very closely during the spring to make sure they take advantage of changes in weather. In fact, some will have to spend days at a time processing the sap when it starts to run.
Does tapping the maple trees in the spring impact the flavor of the syrup?
The temperature that sap is harvested in can have a large impact on the flavor of the syrup. Earlier in the spring, you will get a lighter sap which will make a lighter syrup. As temperatures warm up you will start to get a darker syrup. The darker the syrup is, the stronger the flavor will be. Spring syrup can have a variety of flavors depending on what point in the spring it was harvested.
Another variable to keep in mind when looking at spring syrup is the type of tree that the sap is collected from. The temperature isn’t the only factor that influences the flavor of maple syrup. It is also important to look at the tree that the sap came from. Some tree varieties include fall fiesta, striped maple, hot wings maple, apollo maple, and sugar maples. Sugar maple trees are often known to have a sweeter syrup that many enjoy.
Indulge While Staying Healthy: Vanilla Protein Pancakes