From Maple-Flavored Syrup to Pure Vermont Maple Syrup

Posted on 03. Oct, 2012 by

From Maple-Flavored Syrup to Pure Vermont Maple Syrup

Darcy Morter

As you know, my family’s recent move from Wisconsin to Vermont resulted in a fun shift from indulging in Nacho Cheese Sauce to Artisan Cheese Collections.

This fall, as we transition from the Artisan Cheese we enjoyed during summer evenings into warm pancake breakfasts on cool mornings, we are enjoying our Pure Vermont Maple Syrup – something quite different than the “maple-flavored syrup” of our past!

So what is the difference? Well, I did my research and it turns out there are some big differences between maple-flavored syrup and pure Vermont maple syrup.

First, Vermont enforces strict labeling regulations to protect our maple-syrup producers, and also ensure consumers only receive the real deal when they buy a product labeled with the word “maple.” The law includes a requirement that use of the word “maple” on the label means the use of only 100% maple syrup.

What, exactly, is 100% maple syrup? It is defined by the Vermont Department of Agriculture as “…the liquid derived by concentration and heat treatment of the sap of the maple tree.”

Then, what are the ingredients in the mass produced, maple-flavored syrups found in most grocery stores? The primary ingredients in these syrups are high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings and thickening agents, yikes!

It was back in 1557 (yep, that long ago) that Native Americans began tapping maple trees and transforming sap into maple sugar. The cool thing is, maple syrup production really isn’t all that different today.

Each spring, maple syrup producers (a.k.a. Sugarmakers) drill holes in maple trees, about a half inch wide, two to three inches deep and at an upward angle.  A “bit” is inserted into the hole to collect the sap, which flows when the temperature rises on warm spring days. Once the sap is collected, it is boiled to evaporate the water leaving the concentrated syrup.

Another unique quality of pure maple syrup versus maple-flavored syrups is the “grades” of syrup, which indicate the color and flavor of the syrup, allowing you to choose the ideal syrup for your family’s tastes or your needs.

Maple syrup has four grades:

  • Fancy Grade A Light Amber Maple Syrup: The lightest of the four grades, the flavor is delicate and mild. It’s light flavor works well served over vanilla ice cream, other desserts or in tea.
  • Grade A Medium Amber Maple Syrup:  The most popular grade for pouring over pancakes and waffles, this medium amber colored syrup has a more pronounced maple flavor.
  • Grade A Dark Amber Maple Syrup:  A darker amber color with a hearty maple flavor, this grade is also often used around the breakfast table.
  • Grade B Maple Syrup:  Grade B is the most commonly used syrup in cooking and adding flavor to foods. With its strong flavor and dark color, real maple enthusiasts enjoy its potency.

We Vermonters sure do take our maple syrup seriously, and for good reason: Vermont is the largest producer of pure maple syrup in the United States, producing 46% of the US supply, or 7% of the world’s supply!

Here at Dakin Farm, Sam Cutting, Sr. personally oversees every aspect of production, and has for over 50 years.  During that time, the Cutting Family has developed some unique and delicious maple syrup recipes – this one, I plan to try this weekend:

Maple Fruit Crisp

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c. Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
  •  ½ c. Oats
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 ½ c. Fresh Berries
  • 2 tbs. Slivered Almonds
  • ½ c. Flour
  • 1/3 c. Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Peeled Peaches Cut Into Wedges

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in food processor and pulse 3 times until blended. Add the almonds and pulse until chopped. Add egg  and pulse until the mixture is coarse. Combine berries, maple syrup, and peaches in a bowl and toss. Pour fruit mixture into a casserole dish. Crumble oat mixture evenly over fruit. Bake for 35 minutes or until top bubbles. Serve with ice cream. SERVES 6

Enjoy! If you’ve got any great maple syrup recipes of your own, share them on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/dakinfarm  We’d love to hear from you!

 

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