Is Maple Syrup Healthy?
Oh, maple syrup, how I love you! For me, maple syrup conjures feelings of warmth on a winter morning. I bet you can almost taste the sweet syrup mixed with salty butter arranged artfully on a stack of pancakes. *sigh* So.much.yum!
But if you’ve never tasted maple syrup – if you’ve only experienced . . . well, let’s just call it wooden house syrup or the syrup of Mrs. You-Know-Who – you’re missing out! If you’ve tasted maple-flavored syrup you still haven’t had the best that syrup has to offer.
And when you consider the nutritional benefits of maple syrup it’s just too awesome of a food to pass up!
Do I sound a little too excited about syrup? Yeah, maybe I am. But let me tell you more about why maple syrup, specifically Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste (formerly Grade B) is the best syrup.
What Are the Grades of Maple Syrup?
When I first fell in love with maple syrup there were only two grades of syrup available where I did most of my shopping. There was Grade A, which I could sometimes find in medium, but mostly in light/fancy. There was Grade B, my personal favorite, which was a darker, more flavorful option. (Yes, there was a super-robust Grade C maple syrup, but it wasn’t sold retail. It was sold to candymakers and the like, who needed the deep, rich syrup to flavor candy and other goods.)
Even though Grade A and Grade B maple syrup were of the same quality and the process from tapping to bottling was the same, some consumers, understandably, thought that Grade B maple syrup was an inferior product. Because of this misconception, the USDA changed the grades of maple syrup.
Now, when you shop for maple syrup you have three different types of Grade A syrup to choose from.
- Grade A Golden Color, Delicate Taste
- Grade A Amber Color, Rich Taste
- Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste (my favorite)
There is a Grade A Very Dark Color, Strong Taste and a Processing Grade that replaced Grade C maple syrup, but you won’t find them on your grocery store shelves.
Why I Buy Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste Maple Syrup
Since Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste maple syrup is the new Grade B maple syrup, it’s what I buy now that the grading labels have changed. I’ve always bought the darker, more flavorful maple syrup for two reasons – It has more flavor and it has more nutrients.
See, lighter color maple syrup is tapped earlier in the season and darker color maple syrup is tapped later. The darker color maple syrup contains less sugar and has a richer flavor, because the sugar content has dropped by that point in the season so the minerals in the maple syrup are more concentrated. You get more flavor and nutritional bang for your buck with dark color, robust taste maple syrup!
4 Benefits of Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup Has a Lower Glycemic Index Than Sugar or Honey
If you’re trying to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, dark, robust maple syrup can help you through the transition. Replace added sugar in your diet with maple syrup a little at a time. The flavor will add more to your dining experience than removing processed sugar will take away.
Maple Syrup Contains Nutrients That Are Missing in Sugar
While white sugar is processed to the point of being stripped of any and all vitamins or minerals, maple syrup – especially dark, robust maple syrup – actually contains the nutrients your body needs to process the sugar it contains.
The darker the maple syrup the more antioxidants, phenols, and minerals it contains.
Maple Syrup is Versatile
Maple syrup can be used in the traditional way – on pancakes and waffles – but it’s also great in coffee, in baked goods, drizzled in oatmeal, over yogurt or berries, and in marinades.
Those are only a few of the ways maple syrup can be used in the kitchen. Let your imagination run wild.
Maple Syrup Tastes Amazing
Oh, have I already mentioned this one? Well, it’s true. The deep, rich flavor of maple syrup pairs well with many foods.
I love it in my maple chocolate fudge, my chocolate peanut butter fudge, my maple whipped cream, and my homemade yogurt.
Here are my favorite brands of maple syrup on Amazon. Be sure to check the Subscribe and Save options for a lower price.