Maple syrup is calorically the same as white sugar but far more nutritious. Maple syrup contains antioxidants, manganese, potassium, zinc, iron, and calcium, all of which have proven health benefits.
Maple syrup can be substituted for white sugar in almost any recipe (just decrease other liquids by about 1/2 cup) . Or use granulated maple sugar to add maple flavor without increasing liquids.
Maple syrup is graded based on the amount of light that can transmit through it, which correlates to the intensity of maple flavor. Syrup has four grades: Golden - the lightest colored syrup with a delicate flavor, Amber - a light syrup with a rich maple flavor, Dark - a deeper colored syrup with a robust maple flavor, and Very Dark - the darkest syrup with a strong maple flavor (the favorite at the Holleran house!)
Syrup is excellent for use in baked goods, sauces, marinades, and as a topping for pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, fresh fruit, and ice cream. During the sugaring season, we put hot syrup on just about anything! (Including in the occasional shot of whiskey)
Maple trees can be tapped at at around 40-50 years old and at a minimum diameter of 10 inches without causing harm to the tree.
As trees mature and grow larger, multiple taps can be placed in one tree. Taps have to be removed and replaced every season.
Maple syrup never really goes bad if refrigerated. Over extended time, sugars may crystallize, but won't harm the syrup or have an effect on the taste.
Syrup can be frozen to keep it fresh longer. The sugars won't freeze solid, so thawing it for use is quick and easy.
Maple syrup is a great gift for any occasion!