Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Goodness of Maple Syrup

This time of year calls for hot breakfasts, redolent of waffles, pancakes and French toast. What better than maple syrup to pour over these treats. Mixed with melted butter it has the perfect , sweet, nutty taste that adds oomph to any breakfast.

Maple syrup is as old as this continent. Canadian Indians first used it, tapping trees and boiling it to eliminate the water. It was widely used in the 18th and 19th Centuries because it was easily accessible , especially for New Englanders and upstate New Yorkers. Surprisingly enough it's early Spring and not fall when maples are tapped for syrup. A hole is bored into the trunk and then a tap or faucet is installed. This enables maple "farmers" to harvest the sap and bring it to the sugar house. The sugar house is where the sap is then boiled over high temperatures of 217degrees Farenheit and turned into syrup.The whole process from tree to waiting pan must be done quickly because the sap is perishable. From there it's poured into waiting plastic, metal or glass containers and sealed.

There are three levels of maple syrup. The best is Grade A which is then subcatagorized into Light Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber. Your more expensive syrups can be any of these. The most widely produced is the grade B which is a darker color and has overtones of caramel. This is mainly used in commercial cooking. The last Grade C is the darkest of all and is the maple syrup found in table syrups. The best is the Grade A , Light Amber which is the most expensive. This is what you should use over your waffles and pancakes. You can also use it along with the Grade C kind for your oatmeal.

This is the time for a hot pancake or waffle breakfast with maple syrup. Enjoy this treat to get you through the cold dreary mornings.

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