A couple weeks ago, J suggested that I post about maple syrup grades, since lots of folks probably don’t know they exist, much less what they mean. (We didn’t have a clue until a few years ago.)
There are four USDA grades of maple syrup (or “sirup” as the USDA spells it in olde-timey fashion). All reflect the color, flavor, and density of the syrup, NOT quality. The four grades, from lightest to darkest, are Grade A Light Amber (called “Fancy” in Vermont), Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber, and Grade B. Cooks Illustrated updated their review of maple syrups a couple years ago, and their tasters generally favored Grade A Dark Amber syrups as the best balance between sweetness and moderately deep maple flavor.
Speaking of maple syrup, did you know that, according to the USDA, Wisconsin is the 4th largest maple-syrup-producing state in the US? Vermont’s the biggest, with about 7 times our output. Still, there are great options for us to keep it local. As I’ve mentioned previously, our syrup of choice at home is Kickapoo Gold Organic. Yummy, yummy, yummy! Plus, their website has a lot of great info about maple syrup production and more. If that doesn’t satisfy your curiosity, also check out the website of the Cornell Sugar Maple Research and Extension Program.