There are also Native American traditions regarding how maple sugar was found. According to legend, Chief Woksis of the Iroquois discovered the sweet (syrup) when he flung his tomahawk at a maple tree in the dead of winter. The next day, the light warmed the sap inside the tree, and the sweet syrup erupted out the hole. He was so pleased that he declared tomorrow to be Maple Syrup Day.
Maple syrup was used by Native Americans as a food preserver. They would boil the sap down until it became thick and then store it in jars or containers made from clay or wood. Today, many families still follow this tradition by making "sugar camps" in the woods where they build small fires under trees to heat the ground close to boiling point. When the fire goes out, they know it's time to stop gathering sap! The next day, they return to find fresh sap waiting for them.
Native Americans also used maple syrup as medicine. A mixture of maple syrup and water was used to treat burns, and the syrup was also applied to wounds to help them heal faster.
Today, maple syrup is still used as a food preserver by some Native American tribes. They also use it as medicine to treat colds, flu, and other illnesses. However, they don't boil the sap down like their ancestors did because modern medicines exist that can replace this part of the process.
There are several legends that explain the original finding. One story goes that a tribe's leader hurled a tomahawk at a tree, causing sap to flow forth, and his wife cooked venison in the liquid. Sugar producers boiled out most of the water over a wood fire, leaving behind dark sweet syrup. Today, we know this process as "cane sugar production."
Syrup has been used for thousands of years by many cultures around the world to give food an agreeable taste. It also has medicinal uses; for example, Indians made syrup from maple trees and drank it for relief from diarrhea. In 1556, Spanish explorers first saw Indian tribes using honey and maple sugar in place of salt because they believed these foods had special properties that would not spoil during long journeys.
In the 17th century, French colonists established sugar plantations in Louisiana and Florida. They brought sugar cane with them from France where it is grown for its sugar content rather than for use as a fuel source. Over time, these colonies became independent countries: USA, Brazil.
The earliest reference to making syrup from the sugar cane plant can be found in a book written by a French scientist in 1669. He described how Indians in South America used the juice of the sugar cane plant as a drink similar to wine or beer. It was called "xyli" and said to have special healing powers.
The gathering of maple sap to manufacture maple syrup occurred long before Europeans arrived in America, according to the University of Vermont. Native Americans began to construct "sugar bushes," in which they would cook the sap using hot stones. When European settlers came, they made syrup by boiling sap over an open fire. Today, most maple syrup sold in North America is manufactured from sugar mill waste or recycled paper products.
Maple syrup has many health benefits. It is a good source of calcium and potassium. It also contains vitamins B6 and C. In addition, it has polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory properties.
People have been making syrup from maple trees for thousands of years. In fact, the first written reference to maple syrup was made by Chinese farmers about 2,500 years ago. By the early 1600s, colonists in the New World were making maple syrup as a form of currency. They would boil down the sap from hundreds of thousands of acres of maple trees and then trade it with each other like gold. Today, much of this same tradition continues. There are still small farms across America that harvest their own maple syrup. They too use ancient methods that have not changed much over time.
Here in Canada, we are only beginning to learn about the benefits of maple syrup.
Native Americans were familiar with maple syrup, and it was an essential element of their diet. The maple leaf is Canada's national emblem, and it may be found on the country's flag and coinage. This tree was thought to repel demons and evil spirits in English-speaking countries. In Latin America, the maple tree is associated with Jesus Christ.
In European culture, the maple leaf has been used as a symbol of freedom since the early 19th century. It first appeared on coins issued by the Royal Canadian Mint in 1808. The mint had adopted the maple leaf as the official symbol of Canada at that time.
Maple leaves have been used extensively in literature as a symbol of wisdom because they are known for their durable green color and their thin, translucent texture. The word "maple" comes from the French maple, which itself comes from the Native American word maples, meaning "great."
In 2001, Canadians voted in favor of changing the flag to include the maple leaf. The new flag was approved by Parliament in 2003.
The maple leaf has also been used extensively in art history. Artists such as Henry Hudson Bayley and Emily Carr have created paintings using the maple leaf as a subject. Carr was a Canadian painter who lived from 1871-1976. Her work is represented in many museums across the world including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.