The sap of some plants and trees is naturally sweet. Maple and golden syrup are both processed from sap and contain similar concentrations of sugar. The main differences are in taste and price, although maple syrup supplies some additional nutrition.
Sugar maple trees grow in the Northern U.S. and Canada. Maple syrup production takes place in spring. The tree sap rises with daytime warming and flows back to the roots as the night freezes. Farmers make small holes in the outer bark to harvest sap without damaging the tree. It is then boiled to make syrup.
Golden syrup is made from sugar cane, a southern crop that is damaged by frost. The canes are harvested before winter. Mechanised processing crushes and macerates the canes to obtain the sap. This is then reduced to produce syrup and other sugar products.
Maple syrup production is more labour intensive than the processing of sugar cane. The product is therefore more expensive. Nutritionally, both syrups supply the same calories but maple syrup contains some additional nutrients -- potassium, calcium and traces of iron and B vitamins.
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