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Making the Maple Syrup Grade

Maple syrup is a sweet and sugary substance made from the sap of maple trees. This popular pancake and waffle topping has been consumed for centuries across North America, with fresh batches bottled right in the New England area and regions of Canada.

Although this honey-like and sticky syrup looks all the same when dressed on a decadent dessert, there are a few types of this syrup. When grading maple syrup, the final mark depends on the color and the taste of the maple sap, which usually varies spanning the maple season. Syrups that are produced a bit earlier in the year will tend to adopt a lighter amber color and a subtle flavor, whereas the syrup produced later in the season will be darker and more robust in taste. These grades, based on USDA standards, will usually be listed on the labels of your bottles.

Grade A Golden Color: Golden-amber color with a delicate taste. This syrup can step up whipped cream and a bowl of fresh fruit.

Grade A Amber Color: Slight amber color with a rich taste. Pour this variety over your pancakes or homemade granola for a tasty breakfast treat.

Grade A Dark Color: Darker amber color with a robust taste. Drizzle this grade over candied nuts and ice cream, or make it into a glaze.

Grade A Very Dark Color: Very dark and deep brown color with a bold maple taste. Use this syrup in brines or when making maple-flavored desserts, baked beans, or candied bacon.

Whether you prefer a hint of sweetness or a deeper flavor, we love to use maple syrup to deck out our favorite CHEF iQ recipes!