Real Maple SyrupYou'll find many imitation or maple-flavored products on the market, but the real thing is worth the higher pricetag.
By definition, maple syrup is syrup made by the evaporation of maple sap or by the solution of maple sugar, and contains not more than approximately 33 to 35 percent water.
Imitation maple syrup, usually sold as pancake syrup, must be labeled and generally is made of mostly corn syrup with 2 or 3 percent of pure maple syrup. Some imitations may contain only artificial maple extract.
Pure maple syrup is three times as sweet as regular table sugar, whereas maple sugar is twice as sweet.
Maple Syrup Storage and SubstitutionsPure maple syrup should be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years until opened and then refrigerated after opening where it will last 1 year.
Since pure maple syrup will not freeze if properly made, the freezer is a good place to store it almost indefinitely. Improperly stored maple syrup can grow harmful moldy toxins, in which case you must toss it out. Bring the syrup to room temperature or warm it before serving.
The microwave works well for warming maple syrup. Use a microwave-safe container and heat on high from 30 to 60 seconds per 1/2 cup, depending on how cold it is and the power level of your microwave.
If you are planning on using pure maple syrup in place of sugar in a baked recipe, use 3/4 cup pure maple syrup for 1 cup of granulated sugar and reduce the dominant liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons for each cup of maple syrup used. Keep in mind that using maple syrup in place of sugar will give a brownish tinge and also cause the baked goods to brown more quickly due to the high sugar content.
For substitution of maple syrup in general cooking, use three-fourths the amount of maple syrup as sugar. When substituting maple syrup for honey, use a one to one ratio.
If you really find yourself in a bind without maple syrup, you can try this substitution for mock maple syrup, but don't expect it to come anywhere near the real thing in taste.
Cooking with Maple SyrupAlthough most are familiar with maple syrup as a topper for pancakes or in sweet desserts, it also has other applications in savory dishes and works particularly well with vegetables.
Vermont residents have an unusual tradition of celebrating the sugaring season by snacking on a combination of maple syrup, plain raised doughnuts and dill pickles. Yes, dill pickles! Each bite of doughnut is dipped in syrup and eaten, with bites of dill pickle interspersed about every two to three bites of doughnut. Proponents of this intriguing combination say the sweet and sour tastes compliment each other.
Maple syrup taffy, also called Sugar On Snow, is a favorite pastime for kids as well as adults when the sap begins to flow.
More About Maple Syrup and Maple Syrup Recipes• Maple Syrup Storage, Substitutions, and Cooking Tips
• Maple Syrup Grades and Quality Standards
• Maple Syrup Production - How to make maple syrup
• Maple Syrup History
• Maple Syrup Lore and Legend
• Maple Syrup Recipes
Maple Syrup Photo © 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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