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Old 05-08-2006, 08:54 AM   #1
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Attn: Canadian folks... a maple syrup question...

We just recently came to realize that there are grades to maple syrup. We did a little research and the general info we gathered was,

Grade A Light Amber: light in colour, mild, delicate maple flavour. It is usually made earlier in the season when the weather is colder.

Grade A Medium Amber:a bit darker, and has a bit more intense maple flavour. Made after the sugaring season begins to warm, about mid-season.

Grade A Dark Amber: is darker yet, with a stronger maple flavor. It is usually made later in the season as the days get longer and warmer.

Grade B: is made late in the season, and is very dark, with a very strong maple flavor, as well as some caramel flavor.

I noticed that the earlier in the season it is made (or the lighter it is in colour) the syrup costs more and the highest in its quality, and its price comes down as the product is from later in the season. One thing that I am a bit puzzled is that the later in the season it is noted that the flavour gets more intense. I am not sure as I am not so much of a maple syrup expert, but to me if the flavour is more intense and strong, (or more concentrated) it should be better than the mild or less strong ones. Yet those darker ones are classified as "grade B" and cost less. Does some impurity goes into the syrup as the season progress and impair the pureness of the flavour or something, thus makes the flavour of the "B" grade less desirable?
We enjoy maple syrup on our pancakes, crepes etc, and would like to do some experiments with some other dessert items and ice cream etc... however maple syrup is very expensive here, so we would like to make a correct decision of what type of syrup we should use... does anyone have any advice on the selection?


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Old 05-08-2006, 09:32 AM   #2
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In the case of maple syrups, as far as I know, the "grades" aren't really a grade of quality so much as just a classification system. The taste is a matter of personal preference. Most table syrups are "grade A" because most people prefer the lighter flavour for their pancakes. Grade B is more of a cooking type syrup and is good for glazes and cooking dishes that require an intense flavour. Some people actually like using the grade B stuff on their pancakes though... it really is personal preference.

I think the grade A stuff is more expensive because most maple produces end up with the majority of their production being the "grade B", darker, richer flavours. "Grade A" is rarer as it relies on the colder weather seasons and depends on the trees metabolic processes. (going from dormant to spring activity) Some years a crop may produce 75% amber "grade A" syrup, and the next year produce 10%. Mother nature decides that one!

Anyway, IMO, I like using the grade A, lighter syrups for my pancakes and such. For maple glazes and cooking I have used both, but prefer the darker, richer flavour of grade B.

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Old 05-08-2006, 09:42 AM   #3
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I like maple syrup flavor and buy Grade A dark amber or Grade B. Not because it's cheaper but because I like the flavor.

Now don't go broadcasting that the really good stuff is less expensive, they'll raise the prices!
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Old 05-08-2006, 10:01 AM   #4
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I prefer Grade A Dark Amber or Grade B. And years ago even had a chance to sample Grade C, which I also liked. Unfortunately, I think Grade C is only available locally & informally in maple-syrup country these days.
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Old 05-08-2006, 10:22 AM   #5
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Grade B for me. I use it on/for everything.

I think grade A is too light-tasting.
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Old 05-08-2006, 10:35 AM   #6
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I believe (and I could be totally out to lunch here) that the reason it is lighter and clearer at the beginning and more concentrated near the end of the season is due to sap running more quickly and freely in the spring. As time goes by the tree would be using more liquid and the sap (syrup) drained off would be thicker and darker. I don't really care about grades, to be honest, I don't even know if the syrups on the shelf are graded. I know the brand I like and thats all I buy.
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Old 05-08-2006, 10:35 AM   #7
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Thanx for all the input guys!! I also prefer intense flavour, also on pancakes and as I would like to try it on something like ice cream, pudding and pies, probably the B or Dark Amber is the way to go... I just found the grade "B" in one shop here and it costed much less than A light amber, so much the better for me
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Old 05-11-2006, 05:35 PM   #8
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Fry green apples in butter till tender glaze with 1/4 cup syrup. call the kids and watch them eat.
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Old 05-11-2006, 05:59 PM   #9
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I really don't have a choice where I live...we generally go with Aunt Jemima's.
But I have a friend in Massachusetts who is quite the gourmand, and he always buys the grade B.
He also sometimes uses fried apples and other fruit mixtures in place of maple syrup.
We get by with a little help from our friends
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:34 PM   #10
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I went Maple Sugarin once to help collect Maple Syrup amidst the crisp cool air of February. One of the best if not the most unforgetable experiences I ever had was when we got to the square and there was a huge kettle of Maple Sugar Water there though I don't know the Grade being boiled down with alot of Sassafras Root in it. I was given a great warm streamingly aromatic mug of the Maple Sassafras Tea or was that Sassafras Maple Tea. It was the most amazingly hoopy and fantastic thing I ever drank. I wish I knew the proportion of Sassafras Root to Maple Water or/and Maple Syrup so I can recreate it on those cold winter nights when I want a breath of sunshine and that great feeling of warmth filling me up again & sing

Dum de da, dum de da, dum de da dill. I wish I was up on Sassafras Hill
and listen to the birds when everythings still , and had me some Maple Sassafras Tea ....


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