|Spile and Bottle
photos by: Ken Watson, 2001
|It takes thousands of drips from a maple tree spile to make a single bottle of golden maple syrup. On a good day, a tree will be dripping at a rate of about 175 drops per hour in the morning, slowing to 10 drops an hour by late afternoon. Each drop contains about 2% sugar. The final product, pure maple syrup contains 66.5% sugar.
Sap first starts to run in the Rideau region near the beginning of March. A small hole is drilled into the tree and a spile (spout) inserted. In small operations a bucket is hung from the spile, in larger operations tubing, leading to a central collection container, is attached to the end of the spile. Sap doesn't keep and must be processed (boiled down into maple syrup) as soon as it has been collected.
Maple syrup is divided into three grades based on colour; light, medium and dark. The light is officially the best grade, although the medium and dark grades generally have a stronger maple flavour. No artificial product can compete with the complex sweet flavour of pure maple syrup and some of the best in the world is made right here on the Rideau.
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