Maple syrup is a much better choice, then most of the cheap highly processed sweeteners currently in the market, and is a traditional sweetener rich in nutrients. Grade A maple syrup is less dense with nutrients and lighter in color than Grade B,and therefore Grade B is preferred for its nutritional value.
Just like any other plant-based products, look for maple syrup produced by small-scale producers in small batches who practice organic and sustainable practices, where the maple trees are part of a natural diversified forest. The best maple syrups are not harvested from a mono-crop maple tree farm planted specifically for maple syrup production.
By Karen Foster
Maple syrup is far more than a simple sweetener and one of the many wonders of the world. Maple syrup is not only full of essential nutrients such as zinc or manganese, but also 34 new beneficial compounds discovered just a few years ago have been confirmed to play a key role in human health.
The North American Indians have been conducting this process of making maple syrup for ages, and use it both as a medicine and as a food. With their tomahawks they would make incisions into trees and use birch barks to collect the sap. The sap would be condensed into syrup by evaporating the excess water using one of two methods: plunging hot stones into the sap or the nightly freezing of the sap, following by the morning removal of the frozen water layer.
The settlers were fascinated when they came to North America, by this traditional process and in awe of the natural,delicious sweetener it produced. They developed other methods to reduce the syrup, using iron drill bits to tap the trees and then boiling the sap in the metal kettles in which it was collected.
Since sugar from the West Indies was very expensive and highly taxed maple syrup was the main sweetener used by the colonists. Over time, inferior forms of sugar with no nutritional value became cheaper to produce, they began replacing maple syrup as a relied upon sweetener. In fact, maple syrup production is approximately one-fifth of what it was in the beginning of the 20th century.