There is no such thing as the “best” grade of maple syrup. As you formulate your products and recipes, you will likely have a specific maple syrup grade that works best for your needs. Included below are some common uses for the five basic grades:
- Grade A Golden Color, Delicate Taste Maple Syrup: This smooth flavor is one of the most delicate of all the maple syrup grades. Made earlier in the season during colder climates, this smooth maple flavor is ideal for maple cream and maple candies.
- Grade A Amber Color, Rich Taste Maple Syrup: This maple syrup grade is slightly darker than the Golden Delicate and is known for its smooth maple flavor. This distinctive taste is produced mid-season when the temperatures start to warm. Its unique and subtle flavor is most often used for table syrup.
- Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste Maple Syrup: As the days become warmer and longer in sugaring season, we produce this full-bodied maple syrup grade. Both the color and the maple flavor are a bit stronger and more intense than the Amber, Rich. The sugar content of the sap has dropped by now so, it takes more sap to make a gallon of syrup; hence the darker color and stronger flavors. This versatile grade, formerly know as Grade B maple syrup, is great as a topping and for cooking. Its strong maple flavor also lends itself to meat glazes, cooking recipes, and atop of waffles, pancakes, or oatmeal.
- Grade A Very Dark Color, Strong Taste Maple Syrup: Used primarily as a commercial ingredient, this dark syrup presents a strong maple flavor. This maple syrup grade is very popular among food manufacturers. Produced last in the sugaring season, this maple syrup is exceptionally robust. Its intense maple flavor is perfect for baking, and many food brands and chefs rely on this specific grade for recipes.
- Processing Grade Maple Syrup: The processing grade of maple syrup is suitable as an ingredient in food products, but may contain off odors or flavors and cannot be graded as grade A. It is not permitted for retail sale. While it doesn’t meet Grade A requirements, it does meet all other maple regulations and food quality/safety guidelines, and is suitable as an ingredient in agricultural applications such as in livestock feed.