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Challenge: Maple Syrup – Real vs. Fake

January 10, 2008 | By More


The epic battle wages on.

Are you a fan of the classic and pure maple syrup (native to Canada and Vermont)?

Or do you prefer the always readily available fake “pancake syrup” (Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth’s, Log Cabin, etc.)?


Having trouble choosing? Cooking for Engineers has a few maple syrup facts to help you decide.

What is Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup is made by reducing the clear sap from maple trees into a high concentration sugar suspended in water. When the maple sap is harvested, it is a watery liquid (not thick, sticky, and viscous like other saps we are familiar with). This sap mostly water, about two percent sugar (with some impurities). The sap is then boiled until much of the water has evaporated. During the boiling, impurities rise to the top and are skimmed off (like making a stock). Once enough water has evaporated so that the sugar content exceeds 67%, the sweet liquid is considered maple syrup.

Maple syrup should be refrigerated to ensure freshness (even if the bottle hasn’t been opened). You can also freeze maple syrup to extend its life indefinitely. If the syrup is refrigerated in glass containers, then the syrup will maintain quality for a year. Plastic bottles are a little porous, so refrigerator shelf life is usually around three to four months. If you need to store syrup purchased in plastic bottles for longer term storage, pour it into a glass bottle or jar and refrigerate.

Pancake syrupsMost syrups sold as pancake syrups are not maple syrup. These syrups are made of either cane sugar or corn syrup and contain a few percent of maple syrup for flavoring. Real maple syrup has a more robust flavor and (as my wife says) tastes less man-made.

[Additional Information via Cooking for Engineers]

Category: Food

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