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Biology | Life Sciences


Stephen Saupe, Biology


Native Americans were one of the first people to harvest maple sap to make maple syrup or sugar. Three historically referenced methods that they used to accomplish this was by freezing, stone boiling, and direct fire (Holman Egan, 1985). Native Americans would make an incision in the bark of a maple tree and then collect the sap in a birch container; the sap would then be boiled by either of the first two methods or frozen. When frozen, the ice that formed on top of the sap would be thrown out and the concentrated sap would be collected for boiling into the final product (Holman Egan, 1985). In our own local maple syrup production at Saint John’s University, when a layer of ice forms on sap it may occasionally be discarded; we wanted to determine what, if any, maple syrup loss results from this. In our experiment we tested the freezing method implemented by Native Americans.

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