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TIP OF THE DAY: Real Maple Syrup

With maple syrup, as with most things, you’ve got to pay attention to the details.

The next time you drown your pancakes in sweet syrup, ask yourself what you’re pouring on that stack. Do you know the difference between maple syrup and pancake syrup?

Many bottles of what appears to be maple syrup are simply bottles of corn syrup with maple flavoring—but the picture of syrup-doused pancakes on the label makes you think otherwise.

The contents may be sweetly pleasing, but they’re not maple syrup. And the U.S. government won’t allow it to be called maple syrup—“pancake syrup,” “rich syrup” and other terms are devised by manufacturers.

Here’s what’s in a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s:

 

What’s that on your pancakes: artificially flavored corn syrup? Photo by Stuart Burford
| IST.

 

High fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, salt, cellulose gum, molasses, potassium sorbate (preservative), sodium hexametaphosphate, citric acid, caramel color and natural and artificial flavors. Ingredients are similar for Aunt Jemima, Hungry Jack and Log Cabin syrups.

That’s quite far from natural maple syrup tapped from the tree!
 

Take The Taste Test

If you think you like commercial pancake syrups, try a side-by-side taste test. Buy a bottle of the real deal. The label will say 100% Pure Maple Syrup and there should be just one item on the ingredient list: maple syrup.

And that maple syrup has wonderful uses, far beyond breakfast.

WAYS TO USE REAL MAPLE SYRUP

Breakfast

  • On oatmeal, crunchy cereal and biscuits
  •  
    Lunch & Dinner

  • Glaze chicken, duck, pork and salmon
  • Glaze a juicy baked ham
  • Glaze carrots, green beans and sweet potatoes
  • Drizzle on baked or mashed butternut squash
  • Add to vinaigrettes, marinades, barbecue sauces and chutneys
  • Add to baked beans
  • Sweeten applesauce
  •  
    Dessert

  • Use as a syrup on ice cream or rice pudding
  • Sweeten baked apples (just fill the centers of cored apples and bake)
  • Replace some of the sugar in pecan pie and gingerbread cookies
  • Pour onto a crunchy cereal
  •  

    Beverages

  • Sweeten iced tea and coffee
  • Sweeten hot chocolate
  • Make a maple martini
  •  
    RECIPE: MAPLE SYRUP WITH PORK

    Buy your favorite cut of pork: belly, loin, chop roast—there’s really no way to go wrong (see our Pork Cuts Glossary for inspiration).

    Slather that pork in maple syrup, and hit it generously with some kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Then roast it the same as you normally would (the lower and slower the better, in our opinion). Baste with syrup often, ideally using some of the maple-icious pan drippings.

    You can also reserve the drippings and blend them into mashed potatoes or polenta for a sweet spin on a favorite comfort food.

    From pancakes to pork chops, 100% real maple syrup makes all the difference.
     

    FOOD 101: DO YOU KNOW THE GRADES OF MAPLE SYRUP?

    What’s the difference between Grade A and Grade B; or Grade A Light Amber, A Medium Amber and A Dark Amber? It’s the strength of the flavor, with Grade B the most robust. Details.

      





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