Consumer interest in local products and functional beverages has increased markedly in recent years. Several beverages composed primarily of maple sap are currently available in the marketplace. These products are sold at ambient temperature, and are considered shelf stable. Prior investigation has demonstrated the need for specialized processing equipment in order to achieve shelf stability of maple sap beverages. The current study investigated the feasibility of producing a refrigerated beverage without the use of commercial processing equipment for small businesses.
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In order for sugarmakers to take advantage of the newfound interest in maple sap beverages, processes must be developed that would allow small scale producers to process and package maple sap safely, efficiently, and economically. We investigated several methods that might be employed for seasonal markets during the harvest season of January-April.