Frequently Asked Questions About Maple Products

Collecting SAP Maple WeekendWhich types of maple trees are best for making syrup and other products?

Primarily, the Sugar Maple and Black Maple are used because these trees have higher sugar content than other maples.  Red or Silver Maple trees have a higher water content, so it takes more of that sap to make syrup.

Is maple syrup produced all through the United States? The world?

Sugar maple trees are found in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, so that is the primary region where maple syrup is produced.  In Alaska and Siberia, birch trees are used to produce syrup.  The quality is not as high and the sap is lower in sugar content.  Other countries tap different types of maple trees, but do not produce syrup.  In Korea, a maple species called Acer mono (Painted Maple) is tapped and the sap piped from the mountains down to the village. They drink the sap but do not boil it to produce syrup.

Maple Weekend Making SyrupHow long have people been producing maple syrup from sap?

Native Americans produced maple syrup before Europeans arrived in North America.

Is there a big difference between New York and Vermont maple syrup and products?

The flavor of maple syrup will vary slightly from region to region because of the difference in soil and climatic conditions, but both New York and Vermont are well-suited for maple syrup production.  The major difference between New York and Vermont maple products is the label.

How does maple syrup differ in quality from one area to another?

The taste and quality of maple syrup depends on many variables, including:  soil, climate, weather, the health of the trees, when the sap is collected and the sugar maker’s processing technique.  Some producers in every region are able to consistently produce light color, high quality products.

Making Syrup Maple WeekendWhat is the difference in syrup grade?

While the USDA sets the grading regulations for pure maple syrup, New York maple syrup must meet exacting standards for purity. Superior quality Grade A syrup is made only by the evaporation of pure maple sap, and must by weight contain no less than 66 percent sugar.

  • Grade A maple syrup is classified according to color. The darker the syrup, the stronger the maple taste.
  • Grade A Light Amber — the lightest of the three classifications with a mild and delicate flavor.  It’s best for maple cream and molded maple sugar (candy).
  • Medium Amber — a bit darker with a fuller flavor.  This is the most popular grade for table syrup.
  • Dark Amber — the darkest of the three grades has a stronger maple flavor.  This all-purpose syrup is good for cooking, baking and table use.
  • Extra Dark — used for cooking, strongest maple flavor.  Best for cooking.
  • Grade B — sold in bulk for reprocessing and the manufacture of commercial table syrups.  Best for baking.

What is the nutritional information for maple syrup?

Retail maple products contain mostly sugar and range from 66-67% sugar content for syrup to nearly 100% sugar content for molded maple sugar. None of the calories come from fat. Syrup: serving size = 4 Tablespoons (60 ml). Calories: 200; total fat 0 g, sodium 7 mg, total carbohydrates 53 g, protein 0 g

In cooking, can maple syrup be substituted for white sugar? What are the equivalent amounts? 

Maple syrup makes an excellent substitute for white sugar in cooking. Use ¾ cup maple syrup for one cup white sugar. Reduce the liquid in the recipe by three Tablespoons for each cup of syrup used.

Is maple syrup a healthier sweetener than white sugar?

Maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc, both beneficial to the immune system.  The sugar in maple syrup is sucrose and invert sugar, a breakdown product of sucrose.  White sugar is slightly more refined and is sucrose.  Overall, there is no evidence that maple syrup is better for you than white sugar.

Is maple syrup organic?  What are the requirements for something to be labeled organic?

Most maple syrup is considered to be organic because the overwhelming majority of maple syrup is produced in forests where no herbicides or pesticides have been applied.  Each organic certification organization has its own requirements, but generally all state that organic produces use no substances in the production process that would alter the pure nature of the product. 

What is the shelf life for maple products?

Maple syrup will last about six months in the refrigerator. The shelf life for un-coated molded maple sugar is about two weeks on the shelf or in the refrigerator, and for coated molded maple sugar about six months at room temperature.  (Coated molded maple sugar should not be kept in the refrigerator.) Maple cream can be stored in the refrigerator for about six months.