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What Is Maple Syrup?

In the Green Mountain State, maple syrup is a familiar and favored ingredient. The sugar maple and red maple trees, from which we harvest sap, are unique to the northeast forests. Take a scenic drive through Vermont and you may spot a maze of blue tubing connecting trees in the woods. But if your topography predominately boasts palm trees and firs you may be a stranger to New England’s liquid gold, and therefore pondering what is maple syrup exactly? Here we’ll get back to the basics to explain what pure maple syrup is so that you can have greater knowledge about what you choose to eat.

At Butternut Mountain Farm we like to say that what makes maple syrup great is what it isn’t.  Maple syrup comes from trees, not cornfields. Each spring sugar makers collect the sap that runs from tapped maple trees. It’s then boiled down until it transforms into the richly flavored, amber colored syrup we love to soak our pancakes in. That’s it!

Pick up a bottle and the ingredient list will provide you with one ingredient: pure maple syrup. There are no additives, no ingredient lists the length of a novel (like you may find yourself reading on the back of a “pancake syrup” bottle), and no preservatives in real maple syrup.

(Fun fact: make sure to keep your opened bottles stored in the refrigerator between uses!)

Because sugarmakers practice careful stewardship of the woodlands, we’re able to tap from the same maple trees for centuries. All without diminishing the resource. The wholesome sweetener is rich in minerals, including potassium, calcium, and zinc. Plus, it has more antioxidant value than a tomato!

Pure maple syrup may be the classic choice for coating pancakes, but it also has greater culinary significance. Each classification of maple syrup has a tasting note that pairs well with every course. Try Grade A Dark, Robust as a natural sweetener in baking projects. Amber, Rich will spruce up everything from salad dressings to roasted vegetables. Golden, Delicate will delight atop a scoop of ice cream.

Next time you find yourself in the syrup aisle of your local grocer, skip the syrups that mimic maple’s natural flavor. Choosing pure Vermont maple syrup is a more wholesome, sustainable choice and it makes everything more delicious.