The tried-and-true value-added maple products include candy and cream, and many producers have taken advantage of these products already. Some have gone further, adding maple products like ice cream, maple cotton candy, and maple-coated popcorn or nuts. More adventurous sugarmakers have begun making additional items, like salad dressings, hot sauces, and dog biscuits.
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Over the past six years, my laboratory, and others, have been conducting research focused on identifying bioactive plant compounds (known as phytochemicals or phytonutrients) and evaluating the biological effects of maple syrup, maple water (i.e. maple sap), and maple plant parts and their derived extracts.
The allocation of nonstructural carbon (NSC) to growth, metabolism and storage remains poorly understood, but is critical for the prediction of stress tolerance and mortality. We used the radiocarbon (14C) Ôbomb spikeÕ as a tracer of substrate and age of carbon in stemwood NSC, CO2 emitted by stems, tree ring cellulose and stump sprouts regenerated followingharvesting in mature red maple trees. We addressed the following questions: which factors influence the age of stemwood NSC?; to what extent is stored vs new NSC used for metabolism and growth?; and, is older, stored NSC available for use?
Agritourism plays two important roles. First, it educates the public about farming and their local food system. Second, it supports farmers by increasing sales opportunities and building a loyal customer base. The term encompasses an array of on-farm attractions, events, or services. Events can take a simple Ð and limited Ð form such participating in a stateÕs maple weekend. Or it can be as complex as opening a restaurant. Agritourism includes anything from school field trips, to B&Bs, to pick-your-own, and wine tastings. Sometimes fun, sometimes educational, sometimes both, the common threads are connection and experience.
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.
Wood chips, wood pellets, and used vegetable oil can all be used to fire properly adapted evaporators. Each has advantages and challenges.
Typically, production is measured in terms of the number of gallons produced. In order to evaluate the effects of season length of maple syrup production I propose an alternative measure of seasonal maple syrup production, “Yield-per-Tap/Day.”
In late summer, 2008 Cintech Agroalimentaire was mandated by the IMSI and the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers to undertake research on their behalf that would serve as input to a potential uniform grading system destined for consumers of maple syrup. It was felt that such a grading system would not only be useful to producers and packers but would also help stimulate sales to customers.
A plastic tubing system operated under vacuum is usually used to collect sap from maple trees during spring time to produce maple syrup. This system is commonly sanitized with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to remove microbial contamination colonizing the system during the sugar season. Questions have been raised whether IPA would contribute to the leaching of plastic residues in maple sap and syrup coming from sanitized systems.
Summaries of research presentations at the 2014 annual NAMSC meeting.