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Maple syrup is a sign of spring

Sudbury Living Magazine March 6, 2017 Lifestyle No Comments

Maple chicken and Napa salad

Warm, sunny days (about 5 C) and frosty nights (-5 C) are ideal for maple sap to flow. The season usually lasts four to six weeks, but sap flow is heaviest for 10 to 20 days. The harvest season ends with the arrival of warm spring nights and bud development in the trees.

Ontario is the fourth largest maple syrup producer in the world after Quebec, Vermont, and New York State. Sugar maple and black maple are used in syrup production in this province.

About 15 percent of the entire province’s maple syrup production takes place in the Algoma area. There are numerous maple syrup producers on St. Joseph Island and many welcome visitors to tour operations that range from traditional to high tech. The island is home to world champions producers.

Aboriginals were the first to discover “sinzibuckwud,” the Algonquin word for maple syrup, which means literally “drawn from wood.” They quickly recognized the sap as a source of energy and nutrition and made it into a crude type of sugar. It was drunk as a sweet drink or used in cooking.

The natives showed French settlers how to tap the trunk of a tree at the outset of spring, harvest the sap and boil it to evaporate some of the water. Settlers and fur traders introduced wooden buckets to the process, as well as iron and copper kettles. Later they learned to bore holes in the trees and hang their buckets on homemade spouts.

Even if production methods have been streamlined and modernized, they remain basically the same. The sap must be collected and distilled carefully to produce a natural, totally pure syrup without any chemical agents or preservatives. The sugar content of sap averages 2.5 percent while the sugar content of syrup averages 66.5 percent.

Maple syrup is as an excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc. It has fewer calories and has a higher concentration of minerals than honey.


Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report for Thursday March 2, 2017

The 2017 maple syrup crop so far is reported to be of very fine quality with rich maple flavour. Syrup producers in early southwest regions report 50 to 75 percent of a syrup crop has been processed so far with more fresh sap to come. Mid-season areas report 10 to 25 percent syrup crop so far. There will be many opportunities to visit local area syrup producers to see and taste pure maple syrup and value-added maple products.

For the week beginning February 20, in southern regions sap flow was reported moderate early in the week allowing producers who were tapped a chance to boil syrup.

Starting February 25 and 26, many producers reported a large sap run that continued off-and-on to Wednesday of the week. Many producers were boiling syrup batches February 29 to March 1, trying to finish before freeze up.

In northern areas, deep snow has made tap installation difficult for many syrup producers. A few have just completed tapping, while others are waiting until temperatures warm above – 5 ⁰C to allow tapping activities to continue.

Sap flow forecast

The long-term forecast predicts cold winter weather will freeze the maple trees, stopping sap flow momentarily. In north regions, trees will be frozen until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week until the next sap run. The next sap flow in southern areas is not expected until Sunday or Monday, March 5 and 6. Fresh sap runs will resume next week in all regions.

Snow cover in northern areas should help keep trees in the sugar bush cold to help hold back bud development if a warming period occurs. Maple syrup producers in the Thunder Bay area can expect sap flow the middle of next week.




Recipes from Foodland Ontario


Maple Chicken and Napa Salad


Maple Chicken and Napa Salad

Quick to prepare, this family-friendly dinner with a twist is sure to become a favourite.


Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

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1/4 cup (50 mL) Ontario Maple Syrup

2 tbsp (25 mL) sodium-reduced soy sauce

1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil

2 cloves Ontario Garlic, pressed through garlic press

4 Ontario Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (about 1 lb/500 g)

Napa Salad:

2 tbsp (25 mL) each rice vinegar and vegetable oil

1 tsp (5 mL) Ontario Maple Syrup

1/2 tsp (2 mL) sesame oil

Salt and pepper

4 cups (1 L) shredded Ontario Napa Cabbage

15 Ontario Snow Peas, diagonally sliced into thirds

1 Ontario Carrot, grated




In resealable freezer bag, combine maple syrup, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic. Set aside 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the marinade. Add chicken breasts to bag; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.


Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Place on greased grill over medium-high heat 375°F (190°C); grill, covered, turning once, for 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink inside and a meat thermometer registers 165°F (74°C). Brush with reserved marinade.


Napa Salad:

In large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, maple syrup, sesame oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add cabbage, snow peas and carrot; toss to combine. Serve with grilled chicken.


Nutrients per serving

1 Serving:


Protein: 28.0 grams

Fat: 10.0 grams

Carbohydrate: 11.0 grams

Calories: 244

Fibre: 2.5


Maple carrots and parsnips



2 cups (500 mL) peeled, sliced Ontario Carrots

2 cups (500 mL) peeled, sliced Ontario Parsnips

2 tbsp (25 mL) water

1/4 cup (50 mL) Ontario Maple Syrup

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter

2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped candied ginger

2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped parsley


Combine carrots with parsnips and water. Microwave, covered on High power for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through; drain. Stir in maple syrup and butter and chopped candied ginger until richly glazed. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Note: Microwave recipes tested in a 700-watt microwave oven. Power level terminology in microwave ovens varies; check your owner’s manual and use whichever word or number gives you the same percentages as in the recipe (High is always 100 percent). If your oven differs, cooking times may vary.

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