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Naturalist’s Notes: Maple Sugaring

February 17, 2016 - Naturalist's Notes

With freezing cold nights and warmer days, the sap in maple trees is on the move! It creeps up from the roots where it has been stored as starch and heads to the branches. With each freeze and thaw, there is a build up of pressure.

Humans have learned to take advantage of this yearly cycle. By putting a hole in the tree (tapping) we create a place for that pressure to release, and out drips the sap.

Sap is at least 97% water and less than 3% sugar, so in order to make maple sap into maple syrup, water needs to be removed. Different techniques have been used to do this throughout time as Native Americans were the first to discover the sap’s sweet secret. Come to Irvine for a Maple Magic or bring your class out for a field trip to learn more!