Maple syrup is a sweetener derived from the sap of maple trees. The process of making maple syrup involves harvesting the sap and cooking it down until it forms a syrup consistency. It takes approximately 40 litres of maple sap to make one litre of syrup; that explains its cost!
Not all maple syrups are considered equal; they are graded according to the Canada, US or Vermont scales based on its density and translucency. “Fancy grade A” or sometimes “grade A light amber” are the lightest and mildest syrups, which are generally harvested at the beginning of the season. At the middle of the spectrum are “grade A medium amber” and “grade A dark amber.” Finally there is “grade B” the dark, thick syrup that packs the strongest maple flavour with caramel undertones. Update: In January 2015, the USDA revised the labelling system for maple syrup such that all maple syrups in retail is grade A, but adding descriptive terms at the end instead. Grade A now includes four colour and flavour classes : golden colour and delicate taste; amber colour and rich taste; dark colour and robust taste; and very dark and strong taste. This move was done to match international standards.
While maple syrup is not a raw product, it is mineral-rich and contains thiamine, manganese and zinc as well as anti-inflammatory polyphenols. Altogether, researchers have identified 54 antioxidants from maple syrup that acted as anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agents. Maple syrup is 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose; it does impact blood sugar and feeds bacteria and yeast so avoid it if you are diabetic or following an anti-candida or low-sugar diet.« Back to Glossary Index