By Dianna Stampfler
Maple sugaring is Michigan’s oldest agricultural activity—dating back the early Native Americans. Supporting the state’s thriving agricultural industry, the Michigan Maple Syrup Association was formed in 1962 and is dedicated to the preservation of maple sugaring and the promotion of Pure Michigan maple products.
From mid-March through April, dozens of events are held throughout the state aimed to educate the public on the craft of tapping trees and boiling it down into maple syrup. For three consecutive weekends, the 5th Annual Michigan Maple Syrup Weekend, provides unique opportunities for the public to explore the sugar bush and the sugar shack. Following the natural warming progression, events are first held in the Southern Lower Peninsula (south of US10), March 18-19, followed by events in the Northern Lower Peninsula (north of US10), March 25-26 and throughout the Upper Peninsula, April 1-2.
How much do you know about maple sugaring? Here are some tasty tidbits to whet your appetite for this sweet spring product:
1. The average maple syrup production in Michigan is about 90,000 gallons per year.
2. In an average year, each tap-hole will produce about 10 gallons of maple sap, enough for about a quart of pure Michigan maple syrup.
3. A maple tree needs to be about 40 years old, with a diameter of 10 inches before tapping is recommended.
4. Maple sap is a slightly sweet colorless liquid; the average sugar concentration of sap is about 2.5%.
5. Maple sap becomes maple syrup when boiled to 219 degrees Fahrenheit, or 7 degrees above the boiling point of water.
6. Maple sap is boiled to remove the water and concentrate the sugars in a process called evaporation. and it takes approximately 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.
7. A gallon of standard maple syrup weighs 11 pounds and has a sugar content of 66 percent.
8. Only about 1 percent of Michigan’s maple forest resource is used in maple syrup production.
9. There are an estimated 500 commercial maple syrup producers in Michigan.
10. Economic contributions of the pure maple syrup industry to Michigan are nearly $2.5 million annually.
For more information on Michigan’s maple sugaring industry, visit www.Mi-MapleSyrup.com.