One of our First Step recommendations is to: “Replace sugar with natural sweeteners in moderation, such as raw local honey, Grade B maple syrup, pure maple sugar, molasses, dehydrated coconut nectar, coconut palm sugar, green powder stevia, rapadura and sucanat.”
When it comes to maple syrup, we’ve always recommended Grade B in accord with the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah Pope asserts in a video that she created for the Foundation: “Be sure to seek out Grade B maple syrup, which is darker and richer in minerals and flavor than Grade A maple syrup. Grade B is also sometimes less expensive than Grade A. “B” stands for “Better” when it comes to maple syrup!”
I had read and accepted this list of health benefits of Grade B maple syrup:
“Grade B maple syrup is the most viscous concentration of the syrup. It is harvested during the end of the sap season, and resembles molasses more than its counterpart Grade A maple syrup. The potency and richness of Grade B maple syrup amplifies its health benefits.
Consumption of Grade B maple syrup is said to fortify the body with zinc. Apart from functioning as an antioxidant, the essential mineral strengthens the heart by replenishing and preserving endothelial cells.
Manganese and zinc, the predominant minerals in Grade B maple syrup, support immune system function by contributing to cell growth and maintaining healthy levels of white blood cells.
The two principal minerals in Grade B maple syrup have also been observed to contribute to male reproductive health. Manganese is involved in the production of male sex hormones, and zinc can help reduce prostate size.”
Yet, not everyone is in agreement that Grade B is better.
Deep Mountain Maple explains, “Grade B has gained popularity in recent years as a table syrup. It is also well known for its beneficial use in a cleansing fast known as the Master Cleanse.
Although we are very happy that Stanley Burroughs, the author of The Master Cleanse, recognized the health benefits of pure maple syrup, we are disappointed that Mr. Burroughs did not really understand how maple syrup is made. He recommended Grade B syrup because he assumed, probably due to its dark color and intense flavor, that it was less refined than other maple syrups. However, no pure maple syrup is refined in any way whatsoever. All pure maple syrup contains many beneficial nutrients, including minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and iron. Traditionally, maple syrup is considered to be good for digestion and the circulatory system. It has fewer calories most other sweeteners and contains no fat at all.
At the Greenmarket, people often ask us which grade is best. The answer is, whichever one you like best!”
Nina Callaway similarly asserts that “Maple syrup grades have nothing to do with quality or nutrition. Instead, they simply refer to the color of the syrup, and thus, its flavor.”
The Massachusetts Maple Producers Association says,
It’s strictly a matter of personal choice. Ask yourself these questions: Which is better, white wine or red wine? Which is better, light beer or dark beer? Beer can probably be compared most easily to the different maple syrup grades/flavors. A light Pilsner beer has a light color and delicate flavor, while a Stout or Porter has a very dark color and strong flavor. It’s strictly a matter of personal choice, and there isn’t one grade of maple syrup that is “better” than another.
Shall we discontinue our recommendation of Grade B maple syrup as better?!
Meanwhile, Casey Seidenberg offers us this list on how to use maple syrup:
- Replace a cup of white sugar in recipes with a third-cup to a half-cup of maple syrup and reduce the recipe’s liquid measurement by a quarter-cup.
- Mix into a bowl of oatmeal, millet or quinoa for breakfast.
- Add to yogurt and fruit.
- Toast your own granola with olive oil and maple syrup.
- Drizzle on roasted sweet potatoes and squash.
- Combine with soy sauce and orange juice for a delicious chicken marinade.
I highly recommend this glaze for salmon:
- 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed or chopped
- Add peeled minced ginger to taste.
More recipes and background information in the article: Maple Sugar: A Gift from the Indians.
Will you continue to buy Grade B maple syrup?
I will for the flavor alone. Here are some of our recommended brands via our Amazon affiliation: Coombs Family Farms 100% Pure Organic Maple Syrup, Hidden Springs Maple Organic Vermont Maple Syrup and NOW Foods Organic Maple Syrup.