The characteristic flavor of maple syrup includes sweetness from the sugars, a slight tartness from the acids, and a range of aroma notes, including vanilla, coffee and chocolate, and various products of sugar carmelization and browning reactions between the sugars and amino acids. The longer and hotter the syrup is boiled, the darker the color and the heavier the taste.
All states must use the USDA color standards to grade - or classify - maple syrup based on color, flavor and sugar content, although states are free to use their own words to describe the colors. Grade A is assigned to the lighter, more delicately flavored, sometimes less concentrated syrups that are poured directly onto food, while Grade B is stronger in caramel flavor and is more often used for cooking. Maple syrup grading kits are widely available to help maple producers with quality control in their classification.
Vermont maple syrup has four grades: Vermont Fancy (Grade A Light Amber), Vermont Grade A Medium Amber, Vermont Grade A Dark Amber, and Vermont Grade B.
|Vermont Fancy Grade
Vermont Grade A
|Vermont Grade A
|Vermont Grade B
Light amber color,
|Medium amber color,
for table and all-
|Dark amber color,
maple flavor; very
popular for table and
darkest table grade
maple syrup; its
strong maple flavor
makes it the best
grade for cooking.
Store maple syrup in your freezer to retain flavor and quality over an indefinite period of time. The syrup will not freeze solid and will require only about one hour at room temperature to bring it to pouring consistency. The amount required can be removed from the container, and the remainder may be returned to the freezer.
If, after extended storage, mold should form on the surface of the syrup, the original quality can be restored. Remove the mold, heat the syrup to boiling, skim the surface, sterilize the container, and refill it with the syrup.
The Center for Digital Initiatives Maple Recipe Collection offers a unique glimpse at the variety in maple sugar and maple syrup use over the last half-century.
We have also created the Community Maple Cookbook, a virtual collection of maple recipes - from the sweet to the savory - submitted by chefs, restaurants, and community members. You can view the recipes, or submit one of your own.
Maple syrup contains 68% carbohydrates, whereas most other syrups contain 100%. While it has virtually the same calorie content as white cane sugar (50 calories per tablespoon), maple syrup contains significant amounts of calcium (20 mg per tablespoon) and potassium (35 mg per tablespoon), small amounts of iron and phosphorous, and trace amounts of B vitamins. Its sodium content is low (2 mg per tablespoon).