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.
Smokey Maple Chickpeas
- 115-oz can low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
- 1tspoilive oil or avocado oil
- 1tspMaple Syrup
- 1/2tspkosher salt
- 1/2tspsmoked paprika
- Heat oven to 425F.
- Add chickpeas to a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone baking mat. Add the oil, maple syrup, paprika, and salt.
- Bake for 15 minutes, flip, then bake for 15-20 minutes more until lightly golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely, then serve or store, covered, for up to 3 days.