Maple syrup is not only a breakfast staple, but it's also a wonderful ingredient in a variety of recipes. Pure maple syrup is different -- and much tastier -- than "maple flavored" or "pancake" syrups, which are made of corn syrup and flavored with artificial maple extract. There are four grades of syrup, graded according to color and flavor. The differences correspond to what point in the season the syrup was produced. Pure maple syrup: It's a Good Thing!
Grade A: Light
Also known as fancy or Vermont fancy, grade-A light syrups has a light amber color and a mild maple flavor. It is made from the earliest spring sap, and is used as table syrup or on ice cream.
Grade A: Medium
Grade-A medium syrup has a medium amber color and a more pronounced flavor than grade-A light. It is the most popular grade for use as table syrup.
Grade A: Dark
Grade-A dark is also known as grade-A dark amber. It is darker and more robust than the other grade-A syrups and has a heartier maple flavor. It is made later in the season, and is very popular for table and all-around use.
Grade B syrup, made during the end of the sap season, is also known as cooking syrup. Similar to molasses, it is the strongest, darkest syrup. Its strong flavor makes it the best grade for cooking and baking.
Once you've chosen the grade of syrup you like best, it's important to know how to store it properly. Pure maple syrup contains no preservatives. If not stored correctly, it can become moldy. Store it in refrigerator after opening for up to a year. You can also store it in the freezer; pure maple syrup will not freeze. Warm the syrup to room temperature before serving.
Special thanks to the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers' Association for sharing these maple syrup facts. To order Butternut Farms Maple Syrup and maple products, call 800-899-6349.