Maple syrup, a product of sap from maple trees is the quentissential sweet nectar of nature. Used by the north during the Civil War, maple syrup replaced cane sugar as the sweetner since cane sugar was, and still is, a product of the southern region of the United States. Any native variety of maple tree may be used for collecting sap. The Black and Sugar Maples are particualrily of interest in the state of Ohio.
Sap can also be gathered from red maple (Acer rubrum), silver maple (Acer saccharinum), and Box Elder (Acer negundo). The optimum male tree reaches maturity for tapping in 40-60 years. This is dependent on the quality of the earth in which the tree is grown. Production is centered around the months of in February, March, and April, depending on local weather conditions, and generally in the Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada. The sap can be collected for syrup production until just before tree buds begin to expand and should be process as soon as possible to produce the highest quality syrup.
Grade A This is the quality used in flavor infused gourmet maple syrups. Grade B maple syrup, since it has the most pronounced taste, is usually reserved for cooking and use in processed foods. Grade A Light Amber, is very light and has a mild, more delicate maple flavor. It is produced in the earlier part of the season when the weather is substantially colder. This is the best grade for making maple candy and maple cream.
Grade A Medium Amber has a more distinct maple syrup color and flavor. It is the most popular grade of table syrup, and is usually 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, sometimes called Cooking Syrup, is made late in the season, and is very dark, with a very strong maple flavor, as well as some caramel flavor. Although many people use this for table syrup; because of its strong flavor, it's often used for cooking, baking, and flavoring in special foods. Vermont syrup meets or exceeds the standards of quality, purity and density of all maple producing states and provinces. The climate and conditions in Vermont are ideal for producing the best maple syrup in the country. Maple syrup is an exceptiona sweetener alternative for the health conscious.
And may help to support reproductive health and provides special benefits for men. Maple syrup is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of goitrogens, oxalates, or purines and is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese. Maple syrup and sugar are among the oldest agricultural commodities produced in the United States. Maple sap and syrup . Maple syrup flavor must be guarded from sap to store shelf since they pick up off-flavors easily. This can work in the favor of a manufacturer who uses this as away to enhance and infuse certain flavors into their syrup.
One such producer, BLiS, Llc.,ages maple sysrup in Jack Daniel casks which produces the most incredible combination of bourbon and maple syrup flavors. Tahitian Vanilla beans are an excellent flavor enhacer when allowed to mascerat in the syrup over a period of time. Maple syrup is considered by many to be the ultimate natural product.
Stored properly, maple syrup will usually maintain quality for three to six months. It is a delicious sweetener for many cooking recipes, especially when infused with the rich flavors of bourbon and vanilla and uses by top chefs around the world. It can be a great sweet just for the health of it as it is a great source for manganese and zinc.
The next time you look pick up a bottle of 100% pure maple syrup remember the history, the incredible flavor and uses and the health benefits. Enjoy!.
Chef Steven Stallard was professionally trained at the CIA, Greenbrier Hotel & Tailevent Restaurant of Paris. He spent nearly 20 years advancing his vision of truly American Cuisine based on naturally sourced ingredients. Chef Steve in President and owner of BLiS, Llc, - Handcrafted Gourmet and Natural Food products. BLiS products including Flavor Infused Maple Syrup, are now available through the company's web site at http://www.BLiSgourmet.com