I’d Tap That: 6 Sweet & Sticky Facts About Maple Syrup Season
Who doesn't love a sweet dousing of the sticky stuff? Early March means its maple syrup season, according to the New York State DEC.
If you've been doing any driving through rural areas lately, maybe you've noticed the familiar metal buckets collecting sap from maple trees. That's because early March is prime time for maple syrup making.
In honor of it being tree-tapping season, we're taking a look at 6 facts you may not know about maple syrup:
NEW YORK IS THE 2ND LARGEST PRODUCER OF MAPLE SYRUP IN THE U.S.
When it comes to the amount of maple syrup made annually, Vermont takes the (pan) cake here, with 1,540 gallons produced in 2021, according to the website Statista. New York's production is less than half, at 647 gallons, but that's still nothing to sneeze at. For comparison, Maine is third, with 495 gallons.
IT'S LABOR INTENSIVE
It takes a lot of work -- and a lot of sap -- to produce maple syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of maple syrup.
IT'S MORE EXPENSIVE THAN OIL
1 barrel of maple syrup is worth approximately $1200, which is more than three times the price of a barrel of crude oil. Even with oil prices rising, it will probably never touch the value of maple syrup. This is why there was once an elaborate maple syrup heist in Canada.
MAPLE SYRUP GRADES
There used to be Grade A, Grade B and Grade C maple syrups, but that system was restructured some time ago. Now everything is Grade A, but with wordy subtitles. Generally speaking, the darker the syrup, the stronger the maple flavor.
Grade A: Golden Color & Delicate Taste is described as having a lighter golden color and subtler maple flavor. This is usually the first syrup of the season to be tapped. It's best for jazzing up pancakes or waffles, or drizzling over ice cream.
Grade A: Amber Color & Rich Flavor is a bit darker and made mid-season. This grade is recommended for baking and stirring into cocktails and teas.
Grade A: Dark Color & Robust Flavor is best for BBQ sauces and meat glazes. It's almost brown sugar like.
Grade A: Very Dark & Strong Flavor is the last to be tapped during maple season. It used to not be sold commercially. Factories would use this grade to make maple candy. If a recipe calls for molasses, you might try swapping it with this grade of syrup.
MAPLE SYRUP DOESN'T EXPIRE
Maple syrup may have a "best by" date, but it technically doesn't expire. It's the packaging you have to keep an eye on. Syrup in a glass receptacle keeps longer than a plastic one.
MAPLE SYRUP IS A "PURE" FOOD
Sure, maple syrup is sugar, but it's also pure. Which means you won't find a novel's-length of ingredients on a bottle of the good stuff. You know exactly what's in it.
So go ahead, pour a little extra on your waffles. We won't tell.