The Story of Maple Syrup

The silky sweetness of maple syrup has long been a crowd-pleasing favourite, especially where breakfast menus are concerned. Celebrated for its deliciously rich caramelised flavour, it’s also a go-to ingredient for many food professionals when it comes to sauces, marinades, desserts and confectionery. Here we dive deeper into how this exquisite liquid gold is harvested and graded and explore the pros and cons of pure maple syrup versus maple flavoured syrup.

From tree to table

Queen Pure Maple Syrup comes from the sap of maple trees grown in Quebec, Canada.

Maple trees store starch in their trunks and roots during winter. As the temperature rises in spring, this starch converts into sugar. The combination of freezing nights and warmer days changes the pressure inside the tree, causing the sugary sap to start flowing.

Maple sap is extracted by a process known as ‘tapping’, which involves drilling small holes into the maple tree’s trunk. The trees that are used for harvest are at least 40 years old and can be commercially tapped every season for decades with no adverse effects to their health. The tapping season lasts 2-3 months, depending on the weather.

Each tree can support up to three taps, depending on the diameter of its trunk. The tap is connected to a tubing system that delivers the sap to a pumping station. From here, it is concentrated via reverse osmosis to separate the sugary maple syrup from excess water. The concentrated sap is then boiled down even further to become pure maple syrup, with each tree producing just one precious litre of pure maple syrup a year.

There is absolutely nothing added, making it preservative free, gluten free, vegan and utterly delicious.


A flavour like no other

Pure maple syrup has a sweet, distinctive flavour with hints of caramel and toffee that make it unique and difficult to put into words.

Agriculture Canada has done its best by developing a maple syrup flavour wheel, detailing 91 distinctive flavours that can be present in maple syrup.

These are further broken down into 13 families, one of which we are right at home with here at Queen Professional – vanilla.


Understanding maple syrup grades

Made from the sap of the finest wild Canadian maple trees, Queen’s 100% pure maple syrup is Grade A and available in Dark or Very Dark variants. Produced by farmers in Quebec and held in reserve especially for Queen, this grading means that our syrup is dark in colour with a rich, robust ‘mapley’ taste.

The maple syrup grading system was updated in 2015. In the past, syrup was graded as A, B or C. Many people understandably thought this indicated quality, however it was actually intended as a marker of colour and flavour intensity, brought about by the time of harvest.

The new system was created to alleviate confusion and works like this:

Grade A Golden Colour and Delicate Taste: formerly “Fancy”

Grade A Amber Colour and Rich Flavour: formerly “Grade A Medium Amber”, “Grade A Dark Amber”

Grade A Dark Colour and Robust Flavour: formerly “Grade A Dark Amber”, “Grade B”

Grade A Very Dark and Strong Flavour: formerly “Grade C”

As you can see, all commercially available maple syrup is now labelled as Grade A, with the colour and flavour clearly defined. So long as maple syrup doesn’t have an off-flavour, is a uniform colour and free from any sediment, it can be labelled as one of the A grades.


Pure maple syrup versus maple flavoured syrup

Pure maple syrup is made from 100% maple sap, with nothing added. By contrast, maple flavoured syrup is a sugar syrup with added flavourings.

While nothing can come close to the rich, caramel flavour of the real deal, maple flavoured syrup does have its place when budget is a top consideration.


Is pure maple syrup sustainable?

Maple syrup producers must follow strict guidelines set by Canadian Law throughout the entire production process. For example, maple trees are tapped in a slightly different area each year to ensure they live long, healthy lives.


Maple syrup storage tips

Once opened, Pure Maple Syrup should be stored in the refrigerator where it will last 6-12 months.

It’s important to note that once opened and stored at room temperature, Unopened syrup will keep for a minimum of three years. Maple syrup can also be stored in the freezer where it will keep indefinitely.


Want to know more about the Queen Professional Maple Syrup range? Feel free to get in touch






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