What’s the deal with maple syrup?

metal pail maple syrup
Which maple syrup is best?
I absolutely love maple syrup! I’m talking about REAL maple syrup, not the gross pancake syrup you’ll find in most diners and various chain restaurants. So what’s the difference? More importantly, why is the real stuff so expensive?
Pancake syrup is not real maple syrup. It contains corn syrup, liquid sugar, salt, natural and artificial flavors, sodium hexametaphosphate and sodium benzoate and other processed ingredients. If you look on a bottle of pure maple syrup it lists one ingredient: maple syrup. Pure maple syrup is simply clear sap, tapped from spring warmed trees and boiled to remove most of the water.
You may be surprised to hear that maple syrup contains trace minerals including manganese and zinc. Manganese is essential for strong bones and collagen production and it’s also considered an antioxidant! Zinc plays a role in a healthy immune system.
What do the different grades of maple syrup mean? Grade B maple syrup is perfect for baked goods and drinks. Grade A is more delicate and is best when used straight.
Why is maple syrup so expensive? Collecting maple syrup is a very time consuming process. It’s also a lot of work to collect the sap and it takes gallons of sap to produce a very tiny amount of syrup. But the taste is so worth it!
Maple syrup can be used in lots of different ways – not just on pancakes! Here are some non breakfast ideas for syrup:
Sugar substitute: Maple syrup is considered a “clean” sweetener but it is sweeter than white sugar. Replace 1 cup regular sugar with ¾ cup maple syrup in baked goods. Also keep in mind you’ll need to reduce any liquids in a recipe by 3 to 5 tablespoons.
Marinade: Combine 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/3 cup tamari sauce and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Pour over pork tenderloin, salmon fillets or chicken breasts. Marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour before roasting.
Vinaigrette: Whisk ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons champagne or white balsamic vinegar, 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup and salt. Drizzle over spinach and arugula, orange segments and toasted nuts.