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March is synonymous with maple, a.k.a. sugaring off season. Do you love syrup in all its forms? Here’s the scoop on this delicious product!

Grading system for maple syrup

Did you know that it takes 40 L of maple sap to obtain 1 L of maple syrup? To make syrup, you need to heat the sap until the water evaporates and the concentrated sugar remains.

The way it works is that the colour and taste of maple syrup changes as the season progresses, going from light to dark, and from a delicate to a more robust taste. A grading system exists that was updated on December 12, 2014. While both the old and new systems use light transmission to determine the various grades, the new system has added taste descriptions to the grading standards.

Here’s what you may now see on cans of maple syrup:

  • Golden, delicate taste
  • Amber, rich taste
  • Dark, robust taste
  • Very dark strong taste

The new grading system allows consumers to choose the best syrup based on taste and usage. For example, if you want to use maple syrup for cooking, it’s best to go with a darker grade since it will add more taste to your recipe.

Maple products

What do maple butter, maple taffy, and maple sugar have in common? They’re all made from 100% maple syrup! You may be wondering how maple syrup alone can take so many different textures. The secret is all in the heating temperature.

Maple butter

Despite the term “butter” in its name, maple butter contains no butter. It’s simply maple syrup heated at 112°C (234°F), cooled, and then whipped with an electric mixer. Following temperature guidelines gives the syrup a creamy texture similar to butter.

Maple taffy

If you’d like to turn your house into a sugar shack and make your own maple taffy, simply boil syrup in a saucepan until a candy thermometer reads 114°C (237°F). Then pour onto a tray of packed snow using a metal spoon and enjoy!

Maple sugar

To obtain maple sugar, the syrup needs to be heated at an even higher temperature, i.e., 124°C (256°F), which allows the water to evaporate and the sugar to crystallize. There are also maple flakes, which are perfect to add a bit of crunch to yogurts.

Is maple better for you than sugar?

Maple syrup is a sugar that hasn’t been refined, and that’s why it contains several minerals including iron and zinc, but be careful, you would need to eat large quantities to enjoy the benefits. If you choose maple syrup, choose it for its incredible taste rather than for its nutritional aspects.

Storage

If like me, you store up on your year’s supply of maple syrup in the spring, it’s best to keep your cans in the freezer to lock in all the taste.

What about for cooking?

Did you know that you can swap the sugar in any recipe with maple syrup? Both sugar and maple syrup taste just as sweet. You can therefore swap sugar for the same quantity of maple syrup. The only difference is in the quantity of liquid ingredients to add compared to sugar. You therefore need to reduce the quantity of wet ingredients, most often milk, in your recipe if you use maple syrup. Here’s a little table to help you adjust your recipes.

Volume of sugar Volume of maple syrup Quantity of liquid to remove from recipe
250 mL (1 cup) 250 mL (1 cup) 60 mL (¼ cup)

You can also replace sugar with maple sugar without touching the wet ingredients in your recipes. However, since maple sugar is more expensive, we recommend using the syrup.

What will you make with maple to celebrate this precious local resource?