Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in late winter and early spring. Maple trees are tapped by drilling holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap, which is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup.
Maple syrup was first collected and used by the indigenous peoples of North America, and the practice was adopted by European settlers, who gradually refined production methods. Technological improvements in the 1970's further refined syrup processing. The Canadian province of Quebec is by far the largest producer, responsible for 70% of the world's output; Canadian exports of maple syrup in 2016 were $487 million CAD (about $360 million USD), with Quebec accounting for some 90% of this total. Vermont is the largest producer in the United States, generating about 6% of the global supply.
Maple syrup is graded according to scales based on its density and translucency.
Maple syrup is widely used as toppings for pancakes, waffles, and French toast in North America. It can also be used to flavor a variety of foods, including fritters, ice cream, hot cereal, fresh fruit, and sausages. It is also used as sweetener for granola, applesauce, baked beans, candied sweet potatoes, winter squash, cakes, pies, breads, tea, and coffee. Maple syrup can also be used as a replacement for honey in wine (mead).