Untapped Potential

Michigan looks to sweeten its maple syrup output.


Published:

It's the sappiest story of the year. March in Michigan means maple syrup. It's usually the perfect time of the year to harvest the sap that eventually becomes the stuff pancakes dream of. If day temps are too high, sap rises to the top of trees and can't be tapped. If it's too cold, sap won't flow at all. Oh yeah, the nights need to be cold. If the weather isn't freezing at night, sap won't run at all.

Although Michigan ranks fifth in maple syrup production in the United States, advocates are looking to sweeten its position as a global player.

According to the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, only about 1 percent of the state's maple forest resource is used in maple syrup production. So even though there are an estimated 500 commercial producers in the state, there is plenty of room for growth.

Another organization— the Commercial Maple Syrup Producers of Michigan — recently received a $10,000 grant from the state through its Strategic Growth Initiative to study the industry's potential. And Gov. Rick Snyder has pledged money to battle  a beetle that's destroying hardwoods in other states.

Here's a quick primer. Sap is collected from a sugar bush, an area of maple trees — Norway maple, hedge maple, black maple — and, the most popular by far, sugar maple. Once sap is harvested, it must be filtered and processed within a day or two. After that it sours and can't be made into syrup.

Collected sap is boiled down, fast and hard, until it becomes syrup. Since sap is 97 percent water, it takes a lot  — about 40 gallons — to make 1 gallon of pure maple syrup.

The quicker you boil the sap, the higher the quality of syrup. The first sap, from the beginning of the season, is considered best and labeled Grade A or Fancy. It's usually a light amber in color.

For more about Michigan maple syrup and the festivals and festivities surrounding the harvest, visit the MMSA's website at mi-maplesyrup.com.

You may even get to meet the 2014 Maple Queen.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Cocktail Recipe: Run For Your Money

Try These Locally-Inspired, Bite-Size Candy Apples

Elevate the fall favorite by wrapping it in Michigan-made snacks

Recipe: Nutella Pizza

Sweet memories spur Testa Barr Co-Chef Gabriella Rodriguez’ take on 'za

Cocktail Recipe: The New Bullshot

Recipe: Grilled Lamb with Sweet Potatoes

City Kitchen’s juicy take on an Australian rack of chops
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Excellence in Care: Beaumont Health
    Hour Detroit presented Beaumont Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this extraordinary...
  2. Pinot Blanc: The Charming Cousin
    Traditionally derided or ignored, this varietal is attracting a swell in interest at Michigan...
  3. Michigan's Microbrew Scene is Stocked with Some Edgy Labels
    But when does clever cross the line?
  4. The Sky’s the Limit
    Pilot opens second winery location in Irish Hills
  5. Hour Detroit and Detroit Home’s Downtown Living Tour 2017
    On Aug. 11, Hour Detroit and Detroit Home magazine held the first annual Downtown Living Tour,...
  6. Excellence in Care: DMC
    Hour Detroit presented the DMC with an Excellence in Care Award for this extraordinary medical...
  7. Excellence in Care: McLaren Macomb
    Hour Detroit presented McLaren Macomb with an Excellence in Care Award for this extraordinary...
  8. Excellence in Care: Henry Ford Health System
    Hour Detroit presented Henry Ford Health System with an Excellence in Care Award for this...
  9. Excellence in Care: St. Joseph Mercy
    Hour Detroit presented St. Joseph Mercy with an Excellence in Care Award for extraordinary...