National Maple Syrup Day is observed on December 17, 2024. Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in the spring. Maple trees can be tapped by boring holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap. The sap is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup.
Maple syrup is often eaten with pancakes, waffles, French toast, or oatmeal and porridge. It is also used as an ingredient in baking, and as a sweetener or flavouring agent. Maple syrup can also be used to flavour a variety of foods, including fritters, ice cream, hot cereal, fresh fruit, and sausages. Culinary experts have praised its unique flavour, although the chemistry responsible is not fully understood.
Maple syrup was first collected and used by the indigenous peoples of North America. The practice was adopted by European settlers, who gradually refined production methods. Technological improvements in the 1970s further refined syrup processing. The Canadian province of Quebec is by far the largest producer, responsible for about three-quarters of the world's output. Vermont is the largest producer in the United States, generating about 5.5 percent of the global supply. (With material from: Wikipedia)