Tips for Using Maple Syrup
You Have Maple Syrup. Now what?
We frequently get asked for advice regarding how to store maple syrup, choosing the right syrup for your needs, and cooking with syrup. Here are some general guidelines that we hope will answer some of your questions.
- How to store unopened maple syrup
Store maple syrup in unopened containers for up to a year at room temperature. Properly packaged syrup will last a year (or even indefinitely) without refrigeration.
- All of Sterling Valley Maple’s syrup is either packed into glass or a special oxygen-barrier plastic container, which will prevent any degradation of the syrup. Syrup stored in old-fashioned tin containers have an oxygen barrier but there is the potential that any bending or denting of the container could lead to rust, which is why we don’t use these containers.
- Maple syrup is naturally resistant to bacterial growth because of its low water content; even though syrup looks like a liquid, there actually is far more sugar than water in it and this limits the ability for most bacteria to grow. Proper packaging (hot packing above 180℉) will prevent mold growth inside the container when sealed.
- Storing opened maple syrup
- Once opened, keep the syrup cold to extend the shelf life up to 6 months. This prevents the formation of mold (which can enter the container when opened) and ensures the syrup does not lose quality or taste.
- Storing syrup for long period of time
- Syrup can be stored in the freezer indefinitely. This is great news if you like to buy in bulk! Syrup can be frozen easily. In fact, at the temperature of most freezers (around 0℉), syrup won’t even become a solid- it’ll just become “slushy.” If you’re patient it's fairly easy to pour syrup even straight out of the freezer-- just be prepared for it to take a while. Syrup stored in the freezer won’t develop mold, nor will it degrade quickly due to oxidation.
- Choosing the correct syrup for your purpose
- Remember that different classes of syrup can have different tastes and therefore are usually used for different purposes. Generally, people tend to prefer a darker syrup (such as our Dark/Robust Syrup) for baking because the stronger maple flavor will be more prominent in your recipes. If you really want to make sure that adding maple syrup adds the taste of maple, the darker the syrup the better. Likewise, many people prefer a lighter, more delicate tasting syrup, such as our Amber Color with Rich Taste, for table use on pancakes, waffles, or ice cream. This isn’t to say that there’s ever a “right” or “wrong” syrup for a certain use- in our family, some people prefer dark on their pancakes, and others like the flavor of a more delicate syrup. We encourage you to not think of maple syrup as a single product, but instead as a range of flavor options that you can select from based on your specific desire.
If you’re planning to put the syrup on a pastry, muffin, or bagel, consider using maple cream instead of syrup, which has a more concentrated flavor and a smooth, spreadable texture that will stay on top of your baked goods instead of soaking in.
- Tips for cooking with maple syrup
- Maple syrup is a fantastic sweetener option to replace cane sugar (which is hyper-processed and not particularly sustainable) when you’re baking. We recommend you use dark syrup, but you can get the sustainability advantages with any of the color/flavor classes. In addition to adding the sweetening agent, you’re also picking up some beneficial minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants that you wouldn’t get with another sweetener. Plus, you add maple flavor that complements many different recipes.
- The main thing you have to remember is that maple syrup contains added liquid; a cup of maple syrup is about ⅔ cup sugar and ⅓ cup water. So, when adding maple syrup to your recipe, you need to find a way to reduce the amount of overall liquid. This is easy if your recipe calls for water- just cut out ⅓ cup of water for every cup of maple syrup you add. Many people find maple syrup to be marginally sweeter than cane (white) sugar, so you can probably get away with a little less than a 1:1 swap- some websites recommend using a ¾ cup of maple syrup for every 1 cup of sugar the recipe calls for. If the recipe calls for honey, you can do a 1:1 substitution without making any other changes.
If your recipe is particularly “fussy” and it's hard to deal with the extra liquid that maple syrup adds, a great option is granulated maple sugar. Granulated maple sugar is all-natural and made by simply removing almost all the water from maple syrup (unlike brown sugar, which is usually made by taking white sugar and adding back in the flavors that had been previously removed). Granulated maple sugar can be substituted 1:1 for cane sugar in almost every recipe without having to do any additional steps.
We hope you have these tips for storing, selecting, and using maple syrup helpful. Remember--in addition to having a great taste, Sterling Valley Maple’s syrup is certified organic. We carefully harvest our syrup to provide you with quality, nutrition, and safety. If you have any recipes that you use with our syrup, we would love to hear from you and try your recipe!
Happy February, and Bon Appetit!
Sterling Valley Maple