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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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organic living journey maple syrup

The following is part of an Organic Journey guest post series, written by Amy a long time helper behind the scenes of Southern Savers.

This past weekend, I went on my annual girls’ getaway with old friends from college.  While we were eating a delicious breakfast of french toast, we started talking about maple syrup.  I have to be honest, I haven’t liked it for years, and apparently, I wasn’t alone.  Recently, I bought some at the farmer’s market that was uber expensive, and it was heavenly.  I didn’t know if I liked it more because my taste buds have changed, because of what grade it was or because of something else unknown to me that made it expensive.  I want to recreate that maple syrup magic of my actually liking it, but some research is necessary to make it affordable.

Have you been shopping for maple syrup and been overwhelmed by the choices?  There are so many different kinds of maple syrup and all of it was Greek to me.  So, here is the lowdown.  In the U.S. (yep, if you live somewhere else, the rules change), maple syrup is divided by grade (A, B or C) and by color (Light, Medium and Dark)  There is also organic and non-organic syrup.  Overwhelmed yet?  Let’s break it down.

Grade A
This has the lightest maple flavor of your three grades.  Grade A is further categorized by Light, Medium and Dark Amber.  While these categories are specifically designed to measure the color and translucence of the of syrup, they also indicate how robust the flavor of maple is in the syrup.  The lighter the color, the lighter the maple taste.  The darker the color, the more intense the flavor.

Grade B
If you are looking to cook with maple syrup, this is what you would buy as it is sometimes referred to as Cooking Syrup.  This has a stronger maple flavor than any of the Grade A options.

Grade C
This is commercial grade and according to Fuller’s Sugarhouse:
“Maple syrup Grade C (commercial) is sold only in bulk (40 gallon barrels) to industrial producers of maple flavored products. Any food product claiming to be flavored with real maple syrup, ie: maple flavored bacon, hot and cold maple flavored cereal, imitation “maple” syrup etc., will use commercial grade syrup as an additional additive for flavoring.”  So this won’t be an option for you when you are shopping.

Here is the fun part, you have to figure out what kind you like best.  It is like deciding what kind of apple you like, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or Fuji.  It is just a personal preference.  So, if you try Grade A Dark Amber and your family is not pleased, you can try again with another type until you find the kind that is right for you.  I just pulled out my maple syrup and it was organic Grade B, the fun part is that I had just had some Grade A Dark Amber yesterday, and I could tell the difference.  Maybe we should just have a maple syrup tasting party!

I found particularly helpful the information that Cornell’s Sugar Maple Research & Extension Program had on their FAQ’s page.  Is maple syrup healthier for you than white sugar?  Their answer: “The sugar in maple syrup is sucrose with small amounts of glucose and fructose sugar. White sugar is sucrose. There is no direct scientific evidence that maple syrup is healthier than white sugar. Diabetics need to treat maple syrup and sugar as they do other sugar products. Because it is a less refined sugar, maple products contain minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds that have been shown to have health advantages in other foods.

I was also wondering what the difference was between organic and non-organic maple syrup.  There are a few things that make the difference including the use of herbicides and pesticides in the forests and the practices used to produce sustainable forests (including limiting the number of taps per tree).  But Cornell said this: “The overwhelming majority of maple syrup is produced in forests where no herbicides or pesticides have been applied. Therefore, most maple syrup would be considered organic.”  In other words, it might not be labeled organic because they haven’t gone through the certification process, but most are considered organic.  Now, how can you be sure what you are buying is part of the most?  You can’t.  It’s up to you to decide which baby step works for your family here.

Now, you might be like I was for years, enjoying the high fructose laden syrups like Mrs. Butterworth’s (yum) or some other variety and maple syrup just tastes nasty to you.  Here’s where I think baby steps are key.  Your baby step might be moving to a syrup like Log Cabin that has no high fructose corn syrup (and is often on sale B1G1 at Publix).  As your family transitions to the way that tastes, it might be easier to make the switch to maple syrup over time.  I know taking baby steps in this area has definitely made a difference for my family because let’s be honest, if you don’t like the way that something tastes, unless you are incredibly self-disciplined, you’ll go back to the familiar.

There are other alternatives too in making yummy pancakes or waffles.  We will occasionally put in some chocolate chips, peaches, bananas, apples or blueberries into our pancakes, and then our kiddos are content to eat them without syrup (not me though, must admit, it is too dry for my taste!)  You could use whip cream as a topping or you could even make a fruit syrup like this one from 100 Days of Real Food. Another option is to make your own syrup.  Here is a recipe made with Sucanat (a less refined brown sugar alternative).  Again, the key in all of this is to figure out which baby step works for your family.  A baby step in the right direction is better than no movement at all!

Where have you found the best deal on maple syrup?  Or if you don’t love it, what do you put on your pancakes?

    • Leah

      We only buy real maple syrup now. I sometimes get a jug of it from Target, but I find the best deals on it from Amazon. I like Grade B the best, but Grade A is easier to find in the stores. If we go out to eat for breakfast, I never use the fake syrup on my pancakes/waffles, I just get some fruit or something like that on top. The real stuff is soooo much better!

    • karen

      Think I’ve seen organic maple syrup at costco

    • Tricia

      I pay $12.99 for a 33.8 oz jug of Grade A Dark Amber at Costco.

    • anita

      While I like syrup on my pancakes, I always get light-headed shortly after eating (I like a lot of syrup (Log Cabin kind)). So I will sometimes put yogurt on my pancakes. Strawberry banana is really good on pancakes…

    • Marie

      This is SO much better for you than refined sugar from what I have read. And it is just light years ahead of HFCS– yuck! So glad to have switched. Totally worth it knowing your putting something completely natural in your kids. Plus we have done everything we can to keep our kids from getting eating and becoming addicted to the super sweet junk food that I was hooked on up until a few years ago. I think eating HFCS just causes those nutty cravings for more.

    • Jenni P.

      Due to our budget, we’ve had to make due with Log Cabin. It’s okay. At least it doesn’t have HFCS which always tasted very chemically to me, even before I knew about HFCS.

      • amysanders

        we are doing a mix right now. log cabin sometimes and maple syrup when we can afford it. i totally understand!

    • martha

      I like b dark. I love real maple syrup. Cracker Barrel is the only restruant I know that serves it.

      • Lana

        Cracker Barrel’s syrup is not pure maple syrup anymore. It is mixed with cane syrup about 50/50.

    • katkoupon

      Here’s how we make our pancakes:

      Almond Banana Pancakes
      2 ripe bananas
      1 egg
      1 TB almond butter
      vanilla extract

      These are delicate, so keep them small. Top with blueberries and serve with protein. So sweet we skip the syrup!

    • Elise Miller

      Costco – Grade A Dark Amber, (33.8 fl oz.) for $12.99
      Just bought some more tonight.

    • Sasha

      I like real maple syrup, then again I was born in Vermont :) If I’m not able to buy it when I’m home visiting due to the liquid restrictions when flying I’ve found the best deals on Amazon. I ask for it for Christmas too. My husband is from Ohio so we buy it when we’re visiting there too, but I think the Vermont syrup tastes better.

      • amysanders

        what kind do you get from amazon? i got sooo overwhelmed looking through their choices.

    • Heather

      Yum, we love real maple syrup. I was so accustomed to hfcs fake syrup that I hated it the first few times I ate it. I thought it was too thin since the fake syrup is seen as the thicker the better. Now I absolutely LOVE maple syrup. When we eat it as liberally as we like we go through a jug a week. I don’t like the Log Cabin syrup at all, but it is better than hfcs, and much cheapter than real.
      Katkoupon’s recipe sounds yummy and a great way to skip the syrup. I make my whole wheat pancakes with coconut oil and between that mild taste and delicious maple syrup, mmmmm, I could eat them every day.

    • B

      Marshalls and TJ Maxx are great for gourmet foods.

      • amysanders

        another friend shared that she had found great deals there on syrup too! thanks for sharing so all can see the tip! :)

    • Whitney626

      I have been buying my maple syrup at Trader Joe’s. I usually get grade B. I will have to look at Costco next time I am there.

      Amy, I have a quick question regarding your Gamma lid. Do you add anything to the container to reduce oxygen? I am getting ready to buy some Gamma lids and am not sure if I need to get the oxygen reducer things or not. THanks!

      • amysanders

        i don’t do anything to reduce the oxygen. but i open and close mine all the time, and honestly, i wouldn’t take the time to use the oxygen reducer. hope that helps!

        • Whitney626

          Thanks so much! I will not spend the extra money on teh oxygen reducing thingys. Thanks for writing these posts. I have been learning a lot from them!

          • amysanders

            Me too!

    • Leslie

      We get maple syrup from locals in my hometown in upstate NY, i wouldn’t have it any other way. We also crumble frozen raspberries in pancakes, yum. Another alternative to maple syrup is applesauce on pancakes.