Prior to 2014, U.S. states and Canadian provinces each had separate systems for grading their maple syrup. The objective was to quantify the syrup’s distinct range of colors and flavors as the sugaring season progressed. Early in the season, sap tends to yield a lighter, more delicate syrup with vanilla flavor notes. As the weeks go by, darker syrup with stronger, deeper flavor is produced. Whatever the color and flavor, all pure maple syrup has a maple sugar content of 66.9%.
Where there used to be three grades (A through C), all pure maple syrup is now considered Grade A, and consumers must shift their attention to the descriptive language found after the letter grade. Those adjectives have also changed to give more detail.
Golden Color & Delicate Taste: The lightest and most delicate syrup, best enjoyed in poured-over form; formerly known as “Fancy.”
Amber Color & Rich Flavor: Amid-season syrup, darker and more robust. Good for glazes, baking, and stirring into cocktails or over hot cereal; formerly known as Dark Amber or Grade B.
Very Dark & Strong Flavor: The darkest and most intense of all the grades, it’s suited to use in recipes that call for molasses. Until recently, this syrup wasn’t sold to consumers: it went to candy and commercial food producers for maple-flavored products. Formerly known as Grade C.
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