Maple Syrup

March 25, 2013

It’s almost spring and that means maple syrup time! Find out the basics of this sweet sap here

What is Maple Syrup?
Maple syrup is the sap drawn from maple trees. It is collected in pails, then boiled and strained into a thick syrup used for baking, cooking, and as a sweetener for foods and beverages.

How to Buy: 
The darker the color, the stronger the flavor. Use your palate as a guide. Maple syrup USDA designations are: Fancy or Light Amber Grade A; Medium Amber Grade A, and Dark Amber Grade A; darker syrups are Grade B. The Commercial Grade is not found in the supermarket. The two most popular are Grade A Dark Amber and Grade B. The major producers are Canada, Vermont, Wisconsin, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Read labels to make sure you are getting pure maple syrup.

How to Use: 
Darker grades are best for baking, although all grades work well. Can be used as a sweetener like honey in tea or coffee or other beverages; in baking or as a glaze for meats, poultry, or in fruit compotes or over ice cream, waffles, pancakes or French toast.

How to Store:
Store unopened containers in a cool dark place; refrigerate after opening. May be frozen although it does not freeze to a solid. Syrups from tins should be decanted after opening into glass jars, and refrigerated.

Health Benefits:
Contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties including polyphenols plus 50 beneficial compounds. Maple syrup contains maple sap boiled to a density of 66.9 and sugar.

Other products are made from maple sap. All are heated 20-40 degrees above boiling. Maple cream is syrup boiled, cooked, then stirred into a creamy consistency. May separate; use a spoon to stir back into creamy consistency. Granulated Maple Sugar (stirred or Indian sugar) is boiled then cooled, then stirred until granules form. Sugar cakes, fudge, and hard maple sugar (block) are also made from heating the sap.