Processing maple syrup into value-added products can increase product diversity, sales and producer profits. When considering the variety of potential value-added products, such as salad dressings, coated nuts, seasoning products, and sauces, it is important to evaluate the ingredients for their allergen risk potential and add the proper allergen statements to food product labels. This will ensure that you produce quality products and protect potentially susceptible consumers.
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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.
Regardless of the availability and guidance provided, maple producers should clearly understand that the use of isopropyl alcohol in maple tubing systems anywhere in the United States is a violation of federal law.
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.
Template for creating a food safety plan for your sugaring operation.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many maple producers were forced to cancel open house events during the 2020 sugaring season for the safety of the producers and their customers. This caused a major loss in sales for many maple producers throughout the maple producing region. While COVID-19 is likely to still be a concern for the 2021 sugaring season, we now have a better understanding of the virus and protective measures to keep everyone safe while staying open for business. Those measures and best practices are detailed in this guidance.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator Kathy Hopkins discusses the best method to safely tap a maple tree.
Demonstration on how to test when sap becomes maple syrup. Different tools are discussed.
An increasing number of maple syrup samples containing floating masses or surface mold have arrived at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Conventional practices have been to discard obvious mold growths, reboil and consume the syrup. This practice may be risky, especially with the increasing number of food borne illness outbreaks with other food products.
Red Maple is a deciduous tree that can be 50 to 60 feet tall at maturity. It is wide ranging, and native throughout the eastern half of the United States. Red maple can be used for syrup production. However, it tends to bud and flower very early in the season, which has a negative effect on the sap, making the syrup season for the red maple very short.