Maple is a tree which is indigenous to Canada and its provinces. The Canadian flag has a maple leaf on it. The specialty of this tree is that it stores enormous amounts of starch in it. This starch is converted to sugars and is stored in the trunk. During late winter and early spring, this stored sugar is exuded out as a sap. This sap is collected, processed and bottled as maple syrup.
It is not just the maple syrup that has gained popularity over the years. There are many other products of the maple which too have become very popular not just in Canada but also in the rest of the world. Maple products are consumed in various forms. The maple syrup is drizzled over pancakes, waffles and ice-creams, the maple sugar is used as a substitute for cane sugar, maple butter is used as an alternative or a spread, maple taffy is made into maple candy and maple liquor is also consumed during traditional Canadian festivals.
The process of making all the maple products is very similar. The sap is boiled for a period of time. When it boiled on a low heat for a small period of time, it reduces into the syrup. When the same is heated further, it thickens and becomes a lot stickier and this is what is known as the maple taffy. When the sap is boiled at a high temperature and then cooled down to a lower temperature, it becomes silky and creamy and has a buttery appearance. When the very same sap is boiled for the longest time, it loses all the moisture and crystallizes to form the sugar. Maple liquor is made by using equal parts of rye whiskey and maple syrup, which is allowed to age for a long duration.
There are different grades of maple syrup which is based on the time of the year when the sap was collected. This affects the flavor and the color of the syrup and of the other maple products. Some of these maple products can be made at home. However, the major requirement would be pure maple syrup. This is not easily available in all parts of the world and thus has to be shipped.
Quebec is the largest producer of maple products. There are various companies Maple Syrup Direct which offer door to door delivery of organic and pure maple syrup. All one has to do is pick one from the lot available at Maple Syrup Direct with the click of a mouse.