Maple Syrup

This is part of a series on sugars and sweeteners of all kinds – the good, the bad, and the toxic.
When I was in elementary school in Canada, we took a field trip to see how maple syrup was produced. I find there is something fascinating about the process of inserting a tap into a tree trunk, hanging a bucket to collect the dripping fluid, and boiling it down to make delicious maple syrup. Since it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of the final product, you have to wonder how maple syrup was originally discovered by native North Americans, many centuries ago. After all, the sap itself can’t be very sweet if it needs to be reduced that much to produce maple syrup.

Tapping Maple Trees in the Spring
We shouldn’t be eating enormous quantities of sweets, but when we do have a sweet treat now and again, it’s always best to choose something sweetened with a natural sweetener, such as maple syrup, over artificial sweeteners, which can be hazardous to your health, or white sugar which gives you only sweetness and zero nutrients.

Sap into Syrup the Old-Fashioned Way
Maple syrup has quite a bit of manganese and zinc, as well as small amounts of magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, and potassium.
Maple Syrup: Grades A, B, and c
Real maple syrup is 100% boiled maple sap with nothing added. It comes in various grades. You might think these relate to quality, but they are just different types. Canada and the United States have lightly different grading systems. In both, grade A indicates a lighter syrup from sap gathered early in the tapping season. Grades B and C – from sap gathered later in the season – are darker. Choose whichever taste you like best.
Is what you’re buying really maple syrup?
And then there is fake maple syrup – a totally different product. I remember years ago wanting to order pancakes and maple syrup in an Israeli restaurant. I naively asked the waitress if they were serving it with real maple syrup. “Oh, yes,” she replied earnestly, “the cook makes if fresh in the kitchen!”
Well, Israel isn’t the best place to get real maple syrup, but then again, neither is your average supermarket. Some common maple syrup products contain little or no maple syrup. Take Aunt Jemima, for instance. It’s made from:
Aunt Jemima "maple syrup" ingredients
I like to pick some up whenever I get a hankering for some sodium hexametaphosphate.
Photo credits: Tree tapping photo - Robyn Gallant. Boiling the sap – Michael Maniezzo

Also in this series:

9 comments:

Jen said...

OMG! You are hilarious! "I like to pick some up whenever I get a hankering for some sodium hexametaphosphate."

Ruth Almon said...

:)

Carol@easytobeglutenfree said...

I LOVE maple syrup! Never, ever would use the fake stuff! There is nothing like the real thing. I too went on a field trip in school to a sugar house and I was fascinated. I think it was my favorite field trip!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I have a hankering for French toast with Canadian maple syrup splashed over. Nice way to start shabat, no?
Eva

Miz Helen said...

This is a great post! I just love good Maple Syrup and would love to have some right out of one of those pots. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!
Miz Helen

Jill @RealFoodForager.com said...

Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

http://realfoodforager.com/2011/11/fat-tuesday-november-8-2011/

Liberty said...

HA1 i find caramel color really sets off a real food breakfast like this http://bit.ly/vcvDaA
smile!
Blessings!

France@beyondthepeel said...

funny girl! I'm from Quebec so we get plenty of maple...and the real stuff to boot!

daniellaprice30 said...

I would try that suggestion of yours but is aspartame safe for pregnant women? I would want to try this but I'm just curious if it's really safe.

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