What Do The Grades On My Maple Syrup Mean?

I don’t know about you, but this Canadian girl LOVES maple syrup. It goes on pancakes, it’s my preferred beverage sweetener, and this even happened one Canada Day:

maple syrup

If you’re a maple syrup aficionado like me, you’ll notice that there’s been a change to the naming and grading of our staple Canadian Heritage Organics Maple Syrup.  The bottle pictured above states that the syrup within is Amber, and Grade 2. Now, the same bottle is labeled Dark, and Grade A. So what happened?

The Old Grading System

It used to be that Canada and the US had different systems for grading syrup. Here, we had multiple grades: #1, which included AA – Extra Light, A – Light, and B – Medium, then #2 or C – Amber, then #3 or D – Dark. Then, there were those grocery store brands like Aunt Jemima that weren’t graded at all. That’s because they aren’t technically maple syrup at all. They’re flavoured, caramel colured corn syrup. Mmmmm. Beware anything that says “Pancake Syrup” or “Breakfast Syrup”. There’s nothing maple about them.

The New Grading System

Now, for some reason, we’ve assimilated to the American maple syrup grading system. Even though it comes from the tree whose leaf graces OUR flag, WE’RE still the ones who made the change.

So, under the new system, there are only two grades. Grade A encompasses any maple syrup that’s sold commercially for eating. Our friends at Canadian Heritage Organics further divide this Grade into flavour categories: Golden, Amber, Dark, and Very Dark.  To get an A grading, there are a few requirements. The maple syrup must be:

  • free from fermentation
  • uniform in colour
  • free of sediment
  • no cloudiness or turbidity
  • maple flavour characteristic of its colour class
  • no objectionable odour or taste

Grade B maple syrup, on the other hand is so dark that it is only sold as a baking ingredient. You’ll seldom find this grade in stores.

Which Maple Syrup is Your Favourite?

With so many maple syrup options to choose from, there’s only one question left to ask: which is your favourite?

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