As of this year, a new international system for maple syrup grading developed by the International Maple Syrup Institute is popping up in grocery stores nationwide. The improved grading system was developed to make understanding the different grades an easier process for customers. Instead of having two grading methods between the U.S. and Canada, a universal grading system will replace both.
Prior to this new system, all maple syrup in the U.S. was classified into two grades: Grade A and Grade B. The new system labels all maple syrup as Grade A pure maple syrup. All retail maple syrup are Grade A, and they are broken down into four classes. Grade A Golden is the lightest and most delicately flavored class. Grade A Amber has a deeper color and bolder taste. Grade A Dark is even darker and has a considerably more intense flavor than the Golden and Amber. Fans of the old Grade B maple syrup will like this class, as well as Grade A Very Dark. This fourth class is the darkest syrup in color which is available for retail purchase, and its flavor is very bold. On top of the retail grades, there is also Processing Grade maple syrup—however this grade is only available for commercial purposes.
Streamlining the maple syrup grading system will certainly prove to be much less frustrating for consumers. Once you know the basics of the system, choosing a variety of syrup will be a quick and easy process.
The first maple syrup put on the market which was not 100 percent maple was released in 1887. The brand was Log Cabin, and the original recipe was made from 45 percent maple syrup and 55 percent corn syrup. Price-wise, it was considerably cheaper than real maple syrup, so people were instantly drawn to this brand new product because it allowed them to save money. As other, cheaper brands of fake syrup came out soon after, Log Cabin further reduced the maple syrup percentage in their product. By the 1970s, the majority of brands of imitation syrup had entirely eliminated maple syrup from their products, choosing to use corn syrup and artificial flavors instead. The majority of consumers didn’t realize that these syrups were not real maple, so the United States created a law which prohibited artificial syrups from using maple syrup on their labels.
Developing a methodofgrading maple syrup was critical in ensuring the authenticity of the products on the market, as well as to give consumers information regarding the different flavor profiles of each grade. The new maple syrup grades were separated into two grades: Grade A, and Grade B. Grade A was further broken down into three subgrades: Light Amber, Medium Amber, and Dark Amber. Starting this year, a new grading system will be put in place which will eliminate confusion between the U.S. and Canadian maple syrup grading systems. All retail syrup will be labeled Grade A pure maple syrup (Grade A Golden, Grade A Amber, Grade A Dark and Grade A Extra Dark), however there will also be processing grade maple syrup which will only be commercially available.
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Starting this year, the new maple syrup grading system developed by the International Maple Syrup Institute will begin making its way onto grocery store shelves everywhere, making it easier not only for consumers to decipher, but also for producers and distributors to be on the same page—particularly when exporting. Instead of dividing maple syrup into two grades: Grade A and Grade B, this system will all be Grade A (with four different classes) available for retail sale.
Under the new system, the four classes will be: Grade A Light Golden syrup, Grade A Amber, Grade A Dark and Grade A Very Dark. Golden maple syrup has the most mild of all varieties and is comparable to the current Grade A Light Amber. It is perfect for those who like a subtle maple flavor on their breakfast baked goods, and it is also the preferable grade for making maple candies and maple cream. Maple syrup grades are based on the percentage of light transmission, as measured by a spectrophotometer. The percentage for Golden Delicate maple syrup cannot be less than 75 percent. Amber maple syrup can measure anywhere between 50 to 74.9 percent. Dark maple syrup’s color can range from 25 to 49.9 percent, and Very Dark maple syrup’s percentage is less than 25 percent. The lighter varieties of maple syrup are produced earlier in the sugaring season and the darker varieties are produced towards the end of the season.
If a delicate maple flavor is what you’re seeking, Golden Mild maple syrup will suit your palate perfectly.