Glance down the syrup aisle at the grocery store and you’re likely to see what seems like a sea of options for syrups. There are tons of “pancake syrups” as well as real maple syrups to choose from. Pancake syrups are usually flavored corn syrup – not the real deal in terms of flavor or consistency, and usually not worth the price even if they’re on sale. Maple syrup is all natural and possesses lots of that maple flavor that the pancake syrups try so hard to imitate.
There are two varieties of maple syrup to choose from, USDA Grade A and Grade B. Grade A is the most popular, with a light maple flavor and a relatively thin consistency. It’s a good choice for pancakes, and can make a great topping for desserts and other foods. Grade A is usually made from the maple sap collected at the beginning of the mapling season.
Grade B maple syrup is much darker and has a stronger flavor. It also is a bit thicker, tending towards the consistency of pancake syrup rather than the runnier Grade A. Grade B is often recommended for baking because its stronger flavor comes through more readily, but it can be a better choice for pancakes or waffles than Grade A if you, like me, are a fan of the flavor of maple in general. The two are interchangeable as far as what will work in a recipe that calls for maple syrup. For those of you looking for Grade C maple syrup, it is now called Grade B. In other words, Grade B & C are the same.