Maple Syrup… It’s more than just sugar!
Maple syrup is indigenous to North America, and more specifically to Quebec. It is a natural product free of any colouring or additives, made from the sap of the sugar maple (Acer saccharum). The maple water (sap) is composed of water (more than 97%), sucrose, fructose and glucose. It also contains amino acids, proteins, organic acids and vitamins in variable quantities. In technical terms, maple syrup is defined by its sugar density: 66 degrees Brix*.
Maple syrup is a product unlike any other because its flavour and colour vary throughout the season. As the season progresses, maple syrup's fructose and glucose levels rise, while its sucrose levels drop slightly. Like the sugars, the levels of other natural compounds present in the maple water also change throughout the season (e.g. amino acids, minerals). These transformations in the maple water's composition cause a change in the colour and the taste of the maple syrup. At the beginning of the season, the syrup is generally clear and the taste slightly sweet (Extra Light, Light or Medium - AA, A or B). As the season progresses, the syrup becomes darker and more caramelized (Amber or Dark - C or D).
Maple syrup and its derivative products are an integral part of Quebec culture. More than just another traditional product, maple syrup is one of the cultural elements associated with Quebecers and Canadians around the world. The source of many traditional dishes, maple syrup also remains a star ingredient in Quebec and international cooking in the 21st century.
*One Brix degree is the weight in grams of dry solids dissolved in 100 grams of a solution made with distilled water.