Vermonters have harvested maple syrup for a long time. Syrup is made by boiling sap into a concentrate. Use it to top pancakes, mix into a salad dressing, or create a glaze for roasted vegetables.
Native Americans tapped maple trees for hundreds of years to access its sap.
European settlers made their way to Vermont bringing an iron and copper kettles. These were essential for holding the sap while it boiled. Many people know of this process as sugaring. From the 17th century onward, many Vermont dairy farmers sugared during the winter to boost their income.
Today, sugar makers across the state tap maple trees in the spring when temperatures fall below freezing overnight and range from 40-45 degrees F during the day. Using the heat from either oil or wood, they boil the sap into a concentrated syrup that people enjoy year-round.
Maple syrup contains some of the same polyphenolic compounds found in foods like berries, flaxseeds, and tea. That means it is an excellent source of antioxidants. In fact, that means maple syrup ranks high among “superfoods” like cabbage and carrots.
When compared to other unrefined sweeteners like agave and honey, maple syrup is a better source of minerals and antioxidants for fewer calories. Unlike most added sugars, maple syrup contains nutrients and flavors that refined sweeteners like cane sugar or corn syrup lack.
While maple syrup can be an excellent source of antioxidants, enjoy in moderation!
Maple Syrup Grades
Though all grades of pure maple syrup are identical in density and maple syrup content, the color of the syrup can and does range from pale golden to dark brown.
The state of Vermont distinguishes among four maple syrup grades. From light to dark they are Fancy, Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber, and Grade B. While all different grades look and taste different, all maple syrup is produced by the same process.
- 4 1/2cupscups old fashioned oats
- 1/4cupdried apple slices
- 2tspground cinnamon
- 1/2cupvegetable oil
- 1/2cupmaple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Combine all dry ingredients, except dried fruit, and stir until everything is well distributed. Add oil first and then liquid sweetener, and stir until well combined.
- Pour out onto a large rimmed cookie sheet and place in oven. Bake for a total of about 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes.
- Granola is done when it is browned and crispy. Remove from the oven. Mix in dried fruit.