Maple Syrup - Cultural Significance

Cultural Significance

Maple syrup and maple sugar were used during the American Civil War and by abolitionists in the years prior to the war because most cane sugar and molasses were produced by Southern slaves. Because of food rationing during the Second World War, people in the northeastern United States were encouraged to stretch their sugar rations by sweetening foods with maple syrup and maple sugar, and recipe books were printed to help housewives employ this alternative source.

Maple products are considered emblematic of Canada, in particular Quebec, and are frequently sold in tourist shops and airports as souvenirs from Canada. The sugar maple's leaf has come to symbolize Canada, and is depicted on the country's flag. Several US states, including New York, Vermont and Wisconsin, have the sugar maple as their state tree. A scene of sap collection is depicted on the Vermont state quarter, issued in 2001.

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