How does maple syrup get turned into maple sugar?

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Maple sugar has traditionally been produced using simple methods that, as I understand them, are fairly similar to those used in candy making.

To make traditional sugar candies, sugar syrups are boiled until they reach a certain temperature/consistency.  Taking the syrup off the heat at different points will cause it to crystallize in different ways as it cools (you’ve probably heard terms like “hard ball” “soft ball” “hard crack” etc).

Maple sugar is made by boiling maple sap longer than you would to produce maple syrup – until enough of the water has evaporated that the syrup reaches (according to Harold McGee’s “On Food & Cooking”) 237-250˚F. At this point the super-concentrated syrup will crystallize as it cools – forming granules, a solid block that can be grated or ground, or “maple cream” depending on how it’s cooled.

– Question Submitted by Venita M.

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