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Marvellous Maple Syrup

Obtained from the sap of red, black, silver, and sugar maple trees in certain regions of North America, maple syrup is less calorific and richer in minerals than honey and healthier than white sugar.

Maple syrup provides important minerals such as manganese, which boosts antioxidant activity, and zinc, which promotes heart health and reproductive health (especially for men). Both minerals also aid immune function.

There are several types of maple syrup.

In the United States, they are categorized using U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grades. Grade A maple syrups include Light, Medium, and Dark Amber types. Lighter maple syrup has a more subtle flavor, whereas darker syrup is more intense. Grade B maple syrup has an even more potent flavor, so it’s typically used for cooking.

In Canada, maple syrup is divided into three grades: Canada No. 1 – Extra-Light, Light, and Medium, typically used for table syrup; Canada No. 2 – Amber, typically used for cooking due its more intense flavor; and Canada No. 3, a very dark, strong, molasses-like syrup used for commercial applications.

Maple syrup imparts a richer, more complex flavor to baked goods than sugar. It can also be used as a substitute sweetener in tea or coffee; drizzled over oatmeal, French toast, pancakes, waffles, or sweet potatoes (sprinkle a little cinnamon on top as well for an even nicer flavor); used in glazes for salmon, chicken, or turkey; or combined with soy sauce and orange juice to create a baked tofu marinade. Maple syrup can also be used as a substitute for sugar in baked goods. According to Maple Syrup World: “To replace sugar in your baking…use ¾ cup of maple syrup for every cup of sugar, but decrease the total amount of liquid in the recipe by about 3 tablespoons for each cup of syrup you use.”

Maple syrup can be stored in a cupboard until it’s been opened, after which it should be kept in the refrigerator.  Throw it away if any mold has grown, even if only on the syrup’s surface.

Sources
George Mateljan Foundation, “Maple Syrup,” World’s Healthiest Foods, 2012.
The Canadian Living Test Kitchen, “Maple Syrup 101 and Sweet Maple Syrup Recipes,” Canadian Living, 2012.

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