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Kitchen Notes: Maple Syrup Grades
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t weber
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:42 pm    Post subject: maple syrup Reply with quote

I am from west csntral indiana and have produced syrup over 40 years. There is not offical grading here in INd. I have noticed in recent years a growing demand for the darker syrups.. People want more bang for their buck.. It can be frustrating after spending so much time and energy to produce the lighter syrup. I tap about 700 and make around 150gls. We have found the local farmers market to be our best outlet.. With dedicated return costomers we are able to sell for $16.00/pint. As for storage i always reccomend to agitate the syrup after it is at a stable temp.. Syrup at 66degres brix will not support mold or yeasst.. it is the tin film of condensate on the surfaqce that does.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1006
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>>150 gals

whew. that's a lot of work! but very commendable!

as a teenager I visited with some family who sugared - fascinating but wow the time and effort was staggering. there's no ON / OFF switch for the pan - once started the work isn't done until the pan sez so......

I buy the real stuff and don't even blink at the cost having seen /participated in what it takes to make.

my own taste goes to the dark side - I love that flavor. the lighter grades may be "more delicate" but for flavor zap! I go with the darker grades.
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Athanasius
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:27 pm    Post subject: Try grade B... Reply with quote

"Fancy" grade maple syrup (the extra light Grade A) is often relatively flavorless. If you've never tried it, get some real Grade B. I agree with some others here that it's simply better for most purposes (cooking, baking, pancakes, etc.) because of its rich flavor. If you just like sprinkling sugar on your pancakes, etc., then use Fancy. If you actually like the full, rich maple flavor, skip Grade A (or at least go for the dark stuff).

My wife and I get a lot of our maple syrup these days from friends who tap their trees and makes their own every year. At first, they were hesitant to give us the dark stuff, because they said it wasn't what most store-bought maple syrup was like. Now we request the darker syrup, which is basically Grade B (though they don't do official grading since they don't sell the stuff). Some of it would even be Grade C or commercial grade, which is generally only used for commercial flavorings. It's amazing stuff, like fine chocolate. It may seem weird, but we save the darkest stuff to have by itself on pancakes and waffles because its flavor deserves to be savored directly, while we use the "fancy" lighter stuff for cooking or baking when we need to. The darker stuff would make richer tasting baked goods, but it's so amazing by itself that it deserves to be eaten that way.

Unfortunately, maple syrup grading seems to take its lead from the people who like white bread, white rice, and white sugar -- items that pride themselves on removing the natural flavors inherent in whole wheat, brown rice, and natural sugar. If you like the latter, stop spending the money on bland light syrup as well. Grade B syrup goes great with whole-wheat or whole-grain-blend pancakes and waffles, where grade A light can't stand up and just tastes like a thick sugar solution whose flavor is lost... though I will admit that trickling a little high quality Fancy Grade light syrup on mild vanilla ice cream is an experience not to be missed.
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JBC
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject: Maple Syrup from Massachusetts Reply with quote

Hello - My family just returned from a skiing trip to Massachusetts and stopped at the Ioka Valley Farm for pancakes on the way home. This farm produces maple syrup from over 6,000 maple trees on the property - since 1936. The owners are very proud of their various grades of syrup and provide a wonderful education on the original, very simple boiling process. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. If you are ever in the Hancock area - stop buy this old-fashioned working farm. P.S. - I agree with several of your other guests - grade B for me.
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ambergenuske
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have always wondered what he various grades meant for syrup, so this is great way to distinguish. I have always bought the dark grade A and noticed how it overwhelmed the flavor of my pancakes, so I think I will start buying the lighter versions.
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backyard syrup maker
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:09 am    Post subject: scorched syrup & cleaning solutions for equipment Reply with quote

How do you know if your syrup is scorched or not?

Everything I read says that you are supposed to use a bleach solution to disinfect your equipment. Now, is it possible to use vinegar instead of strong chemicals (bleach), as it can disinfect items too.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1006
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>scorched syrup

by taste I suspect . . [?]

regarding disinfectants, bleach is widely used because it is effective against a wide range of bacteria. whether vinegar would be satisfactory for (sugaring equipment?) depends on what kind of bacteria are present - if you know what kind of bacteria are typically floating around you could research whether vinegar would be effective.

bleach is not really such a bad actor - see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disinfectant
which discusses quite a number of different disinfecting agents, but here's an interesting snippet for bleach:

\quote
By far the most cost-effective home disinfectant is the commonly used chlorine bleach (a 5% solution of Sodium hypochlorite) which is effective against most common pathogens, including difficult organisms such as tuberculosis (mycobacterium tuberculosis), hepatitis B and C, fungi, and antibiotic-resistant strains of staphylococcus and enterococcus. It even has some disinfectant action against parasitic organisms [16].

Positives are that it kills the widest range of pathogens of any inexpensive disinfectant, is extremely powerful against viruses and bacteria at room temperature, is commonly available and inexpensive, and breaks down quickly into harmless components (primarily table salt and oxygen).
\unquote
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1620
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never really understood why so many people are afraid to use chlorine bleach and considers it too harsh/dangerous to use in their kitchen. There are even people personally I know who won't use chlorine bleach but have no trouble spraying oven cleaner into their ovens...
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1006
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael -

methinks a lot of the issue lays at the feet of the tabloid type press - take half-a-fact and spin it into a 30 second sound byte of outrageous conjecture.

like canola oil - made from rapeseed - part of the mustard family - and we all know where mustard gas comes from . . . well, I know where mustard gas comes from, and it ain't from no plant.

how's it go...? never let the facts stand in the way of a good story?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1620
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that makes sense. My favorite example is the recent attacks on KFC's Double Down Burger (the one with two fried chicken patties instead of bread) and how it's a heart attack waiting to happen... They even report on how much fat and how many calories it has - but none of the reporters bothered to check that it's exactly the same as a cheeseburger.
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espitts
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:16 pm    Post subject: Grade B is the way to go. Reply with quote

Rating syrup as Grade B makes it sound inferior to the others. Grade B is taken later in the season. My preference is Grade B. If I'm going to put maple syrup on my pancakes I want to taste the maple. We purchase it from a small famliy run local syrup producer in VT and they tend to sell out of Grade B because the locals prefer it over the others. This particular family farm only sells Grade A Dark and Grade B.
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leyden
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:28 am    Post subject: "grades" Reply with quote

I heard an oldtimer refer to 'the best' syrup as 12 pound/gallon......
Anyone else have a reference?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1006
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maple tree sap is boiled down to maple syrup - which effectively reduces the water content or conversely increases the solids / sugar content.

for legal trade, the density of the finished product is specified by various agencies - however it is usually specified as a sugar percentage - typically the Brix scale (there are other methods)

a little digging turned up this research which specifies the density in grams per ml
http://www2.uwstout.edu/content/lib/thesis/2006/2006takanoh.pdf
which is roughly 1.325 grams per milliliter, or
11.08 pounds per gallon

so a syrup reduced to 12 pounds per gallon would have significantly more sugar - and I suspect be quite a bit thicker that what one finds commercially.
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