Maple syrup or 'sinzibuckwud' was first discovered by the North American Indians long before the arrival of Europeans. Sinzibuckwud is the Algonquin word for maple syrup and means, literally 'drawn from wood'.
Commercial production occurs predominantly in South Eastern Canada in the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Southern Ontario and the Maritimes with limited production in North Eastern United States, such as the New England states and ten other states as far west as Wisconsin and Minnesota.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The Indians were the first to learn how to draw off maple sap and boil it to make sugar. Their methods of collection were described by the English chemist Robert Boyle as early as in 1663 (Encyclopedia Americana, 1987). Sebastian Rasles however, in 1724 noted "There is no lack of sugar in these forests.
In spring the maple trees contain a fluid resembling that which canes of the islands contain. The women busy themselves into receiving it into vessels of bark, when it trickles from these trees, they boil it and obtain from it fairly good sugar". In early spring the Indians would use their tomahawks to cut V-shaped incisions into the trees, and then by inserting reeds or concave pieces of bark, channel the sap into buckets made of birch bark (Encyclopedia Americana, 1987).
The sap was then concentrated by throwing hot rocks into the buckets. It was the Indians who first demonstrated to the French, how to tap the trunk of a tree, harvest and boil its sap in the early days of colonisation. This practice later became an integral part of colonial life.