|Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm |
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Vermont Maple Syrup Grading 2014
Maple syrup grading in Vermont has changed as of 2014. Syrup grading confuses many people and hopefully this new system will make it easier to understand. The following is our clarification of the new grades, including a comparison with the old.
- Grade A Golden Delicate or Fancy: Lightest‐colored syrup with a golden hue, usually made in the earlier part of the season when the weather is colder. Although the flavor is not as strong as darker syrups, we believe it exudes the most pure maple flavor. Grade change: This grade has not changed.
- Grade A Amber Rich: Between Fancy and Dark Robust in both color and flavor. Grade change: This new grade includes all of the old A Medium, and the lighter half of the old A Dark.
- Grade A Dark Robust: Darker-‐colored syrup usually made when the weather becomes warmer, stronger-‐flavored and often taking on other accents like caramel. Grade change: This new grade includes the darker half of the old A Dark, and all of the old grade B
- Grade A Very Dark Strong: Very dark syrup, with a strong earthy bite. Grade change: This grade was called C and was not allowed to be sold in small retail containers until this year.
Fancy syrup is the most challenging to make. Factors such as niter accumulation in pans, slow boiling, or spoiled sap due to warm weather will usually yield darker syrup.
A common misconception is that darker syrups are thicker, but, by law, all syrup grades have the same density. We usually use the lighter-‐colored syrups for toppings, such as on pancakes where the subtle maple bouquet can be readily appreciated, and the darker syrups for cooking where this subtle flavor would be lost.
We feel the strong, coarse flavor of Very Dark overpowers the unique maple flavor, and therefore don’t sell it in retail containers, as has always been the case in the past. When we started making this grade, the sap quality has deteriorated and our season ends.
Always look for pure maple syrup on the label, which guarantees it is made solely from the concentrated sap of maple trees with nothing added.