What is Maple Syrup?
Maple syrup comes from the maple trees but the maple sap is not thick like the syrup when it is first harvested. The sap is very fluid; about 98% water and 2% sugar only. The sap needs to go through boiling and purification processes first before it gain a sugar content of around 68% or higher. The smell, flavour, colour and texture depend heavily on growing conditions, climate and weather of where the maple trees are. Maple syrups with a lighter colouration are harvested earlier in the season while maple syrups with very dark colouration are harvest later in the season, and are more rare and precious, and thus, more expensive.
Maple Syrup Grade
There are different grade for the maple syrups.
For Grade A there are three types:
Light Amber (or Fancy) - Very light colouration with a flavour not too strong. Produced during the earliest part of the cold season. It is commonly used to serve on pancakes or make into candies.
Medium Amber – Dark colouration with a distinguished flavour. Can be used on pancakes and waffles as well as for baking.
Dark Amber - Very dark colouration with a strong flavour. Some may use it as table syrup, while most will prefer to have this for baking or cooking.
There is only one type for Grade B – Darkest colouration and strongest taste and smell. It is mostly used for baking.
Why Grade B?
Grade B is far superior to A and thus recommended for its nutritional value. Grade B has very high level of B vitamins and amino acids (amino acids are the building blocks of protein). It also contains manganese, an antioxidant mineral which helps neutralize free-radicals (just two teaspoons of the maple syrup equals 22% of you daily value). Furthermore it contains high levels of zinc, which is required by hundreds of enzymes in your body for normal functioning and maintenance of a healthy immune system.
Grade B syrup is more expensive than Grade A, but there’s a good reason for it – primarily its nutritional virtues.
Keep the maple syrup in the refrigerator, even if the bottle hasn’t been opened before. Freezing it can extend its life. Use glass containers to keep the maple syrup instead of the plastic ones; glass containers can maintain its quality for a year, but for plastic ones, only three to four months. Even if you purchased maple syrup in a plastic container, you can always change it into a glass container and then refrigerate.
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