Maple syrup comes from the fluid or sap of sugar maple trees. It is an all-natural sweetener. About 80% of the world’s maple syrup supply is produced in Quebec, Canada; the rest is from the East Coast and Midwest.
3. How Maple Syrup Is Produced
In maple syrup production, they “tap” the maple trees by drilling a hole in the tree. Then they collect sap or fluid in a container below the hole. It is then boiled to evaporate the water in the sap, leaving a thick, sweet syrup. Then they filter the syrup to remove any impurities. It comes in different grades, usually A and B, characterized by color. Grade B is the darker syrup, collected later in the harvest season, and has a stronger maple flavor; it is usually used for baking. The grade is really an indicator of differences in flavor, from mild to robust.
2. Maple Syrup Benefits
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener straight from the tree. It contains nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, calcium, manganese, and potassium. Each tablespoon has 50 calories and 12 grams of sugar. So, it is still sugar and needs to be added to your sugar total for the day.
Remember to read the ingredients when purchasing maple syrup; you want 100% maple. Some companies sell maple-flavored syrup, which is blended with high fructose corn syrup or refined sugar.
1. Special Notes About Maple Syrup
Maple syrup can grow mold, so it is better to refrigerate the bottle once opened. If refrigerated, it can last for up to one year. If you freeze it, it can last indefinitely.
For the best flavor, you should bring maple syrup to room temperature or heat gently before using it.Related: The Scoop on Sugar: Is One Type of Sugar Healthier Than Another?