What Are the Maple Syrup Grades?

What Are the Maple Syrup Grades?

Since the year 2000 Robert, my kids and myself have been working on spreading the word of Maple to the good people of Calgary. If that sounds religious it could be because to us maple syrup is almost biblical.

We’re not just getting people hooked on maple syrup, we are showing people that there is a whole world of syrup out there, one that includes medium grade syrup, but is not exclusive to it.

Considering we talk about this all day long at the markets I thought I would put a refresher course up on the blog.

Did you know that there are different kinds of maple syrup? If you live in Calgary or are from Western Canada you probably didn’t. It seems as though it is only people from provinces or states where cabane a sucre or sugar shacks are, are intimately acquainted with the different types, or grades, of maple syrup.

There are 5 kinds of syrup, but for the sake of this argument let’s talk about 4. At Good Stuff Maple we really specialize in two kinds of maple syrup in Calgary.

Grades of maple syrup are distinguished by their colour, sweetness and level of maple flavour.

Light (no 1A or no1 light)
This kind of syrup is usually the first run of the season. It is very light in colour (almost the colour of corn syrup) and is super sweet – I mean SWEEET! It maple flavour is not very strong, so if you are a person looking for sweet but not are not a huge fan of maple syrup this is what you want to pour all over your pancakes.

Medium (no 1 or no 1 medium) 
Medium grade syrup is what you find when you go to the grocery store and buy maple syrup. When get maple syrup any where in the world it is almost guaranteed that you are getting a medium grade maple syrup. It is pretty sweet and not crazy maple-y. When you think of maple syrup it is the medium grade syrup your tongue is remembering.

Amber (no2) 
Amber is. Well Amber. There’s not a lot I have to say about this syrup. We don’t get a ton of it from Robert’s family farm. It’s flavour profile is between the medium grade and dark grade syrup. If you have bought syrup from us at the farmers’ markets around Calgary it is because we ordered it in from a distributor. Amber syrup runs near the end of the season, usually.

Dark (no 3)
At Good Stuff Maple we specialize in Dark maple syrup. It is traditionally the last run of the season that you get the sap to make dark maple syrup. Dark maple syrup is the favourite grade in my house. My daughter, Kim, won’t even touch medium syrup. Until she tried dark syrup she used to swear she hated it. This syrup is not as a sweet, has a stronger more robust maple flavour and more vitamins and minerals. Some people say that they get a molasses flavour from it others get toffee. It is what I do all my baking and cooking with. All of my recipes on here are made with dark maple syrup, because it tastes better. Especially in savoury dishes, you lost a lot of the sweet but keep the maple flavour. Outside of us and a few health food stores you won’t find the dark grade of maple syrup in Calgary.

Now, the question 85% of people ask after learning about the different kinds of syrup is: “So, is the dark less refined than the others or something?” The answer to that is a pretty simple no. It is not even boiled down more than the others, it is actually dependant on the weather when you tap your tree. The earlier the season the lighter your syrup, that is why dark happens on the last run. There is a reason for this, and it is all about sugars and warmth or something…. Ill have to get Robert to explain it on the blog one day.

Feel super enlightened now? Who knew you were going to get an education today. but it’s the best kind of education, a maple education!

Maple Pulled Pork In the Sloooow Cooker

Maple Pulled Pork In the Sloooow Cooker

Super Bowl Sunday. We Canadians don’t really care. Ok, more accurately, my household couldn’t care less about American Football. However, we do love to pretend by having Super Bowl food for dinner. Maple pulled pork? GET IN MY BELLY!

It doesn’t really feel like Super Bowl Sunday considering it is four degrees in Calgary today, but who cares! It is time for Maple Pulled Pork. Even as I write this there is pork shouldering being slowwwwwly cooked in my slow cooker. It has just gotten to the point where you can start smelling it. I won’t lie, I am starting to salivate. All right, enough of the chitter chatter, let’s get to the recipe.

For this recipe you will need a slow cooker, but in this day and age who does have one? And you will need a nice cut of pork. If you are in Calgary like us, we suggest going with Spragg’s pork. We may be biased because they used to be beside us at the Millarville Farmers’ Market, but our tastebuds don’t care about that and they are pretty convinced that Spragg’s is the best pork and they’re local too! Find Spragg’s here.

2 lbs of boneless pork (Shoulder recommended)
3/4 of an onion sliced like you would for onion rings
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin
1/2 cup of dark maple syrup
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Turn slow cooker on to low
Lay half the onion slices on the bottom of the slow cooker
Cut pork shoulder in half
Place both halves of the pork on top of the onion
Lay the rest of the onion on top of the pork
Combine all of the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl and stir the shit out of it
Pour the liquid mixture from the bowl onto the pork try to cover every bit of it
Cook on low for 8ish hours (do not try to cook it on high for shorter amount of time, the pork will not turn out right. The pork should practically fall apart it is so tender)
If the liquid gets low add 1/3 of a cup of water
Remove the pork and put it in a medium sized mixing bowl and use two forks to separate it.
Pour desired amount of the left over sauce onto the pork. Probably half, but depends on whether you want it more or less saucy
Add to a bun
Add coleslaw if you want – We usually go with an asian coleslaw. It may sound crazy but it is super tasty good times.


Simple Maple Sugar Cookies

Simple Maple Sugar Cookies

We all love this recipe. It is perfect for those chilly Calgary nights when you want something sweet but you don’t want to get out of your car and go get the ingredients. Aside from the maple sugar this recipe is made with ingredients that most people have kicking around their house. It is also hella easy, especially if you have an electric mixer (just an egg beater will do.)

This recipe should make about 25-30 cookies, depending on how big you make them. But don’t expect them to last, these cookies turn my whole family into cookie zombie. All they want/think about are cookies until these are all gone.

2 and 3/4 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup of softened butter (this is important, it has to be soft)
1/2 cup of margarine
1 cup of maple sugar
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Blend together flour, baking soda, and baking power in small-medium sized bowl
Measure out butter into a microwave safe measuring cup, put it in the microwave for 15 seconds (if it isn’t completely softened)
Bring out a large bowl to mix butter, margarine, and both sugars together
Use an electric egg beater to blend butter, margarine and sugars together until they are creamy
Incorporate the flour mixture into the butter mixture slowly a few tablespoons at a time. It should be similar to the consistency of play-doh when you are done
Roll the dough into small balls and place onto ungreased no stick cookie sheet. Leave room between them as they take up a surprising amount of space
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden
Let cool for at least 10 minutes or they will turn into mush

You can ice these whoever you want. With whatever icing you want. Im a minimalist when it comes to these cookies, I think this recipe is perfect.

Don’t know where to buy maple sugar in Calgary? Don’t worry, we got you covered.