Maple syrup is a syrup made from the sap of maple trees. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in late winter and early spring. Maple trees are tapped by drilling holes into their trunks and collecting the sap, which is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup.
Maple syrup was first made by the Indigenous peoples of North America. The practice was adopted by European settlers, who gradually changed production methods. Technological improvements in the 1970s further refined syrup processing. Virtually all of the world’s maple syrup is produced in Canada and the United States. The Canadian province of Quebec is the largest producer, responsible for 70 percent of the world’s output; Canadian exports of maple syrup in 2016 were C$487 million (about US$360 million), with Quebec accounting for some 90 percent of this total.
Maple syrup is graded based on its colour and taste. Sucrose is the most prevalent sugar in maple syrup. In Canada, syrups must be made exclusively from maple sap to qualify as maple syrup and must also be at least 66 percent sugar. In the United States, a syrup must be made almost entirely from maple sap to be labelled as “maple”, though states such as Vermont and New York have more restrictive definitions.
Maple syrup is often used as a condiment for pancakes, waffles, French toast, oatmeal, or porridge. It is also used as an ingredient in baking and as a sweetener or flavouring agent. Culinary experts have praised its unique flavour, although the chemistry responsible is not fully understood
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