History of Maple Syrup

A custom inherited from the Amerindian population

The custom of collecting this maple water (sap) and boiling it to obtain syrup comes from the Amerindians. Long before the arrival of the white people (settlers), they understood its energetic and nutritional value. Using their tomahawk to make a tap hole, they would attach a wood shaving on the bottom, channelling the maple water (sap) towards a bark container. The Amerindians boiled the maple water (sap) in clay pots to obtain maple syrup.

The legend of Nokomis (The earth) tells us that Nokomis was the first to tap holes in maple trunks and directly collect the maple syrup. Manabush, recognizing that this sap was actually syrup ready to eat went to his grandmother and said:

“Grandmother”, it is not a good thing that trees produce sugar so easily. If men can collect sugar without effort, they will become lazy. We must make them work. Before tasting this exquisite syrup, it would be better that men be forced to cut wood and stay up all night to watch the cooking of the syrup.”

He did say anymore. But fearing that Nokomis would ignore his words and not take any actions to prevent men from become lazy, he climbed to the top of the maple tree with a bucket of water. He poured it inside the tree, thus dissolving the sugar that was inside.”

Ever since, according to the legend, instead of thick syrup , the maple water (sap) contains 1% to 2% of sugar, and, to obtain sugar, one must work for it.La coutume de recueillir cette sève et de la faire bouillir pour en obtenir du sirop nous vient des Amérindiens.

Arrival of the first settlers and Maple syrup


At the beginning of the colony, the Amerindians taught our ancestors how to tap the trunk of trees at springtime, how to collect the maple water (sap) and how to boil it down. This practice rapidly became a part of everyday life for the settlers. This syrup was an important source of sugar in the 17th and 18th century.

The first settlers would boil down maple water (sap) in iron kettles. Using rudimentary shelters to protect themselves, they would “run” from tree to tree to collect their maple water (sap). For them, as it still is today, it was a period of joy that announced the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

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