Driving through rural areas in early spring, you may see lines of rubber piping snaking through the woods, transporting sap from maple trees to large drums. The sap is then boiled down to evaporate the water, increasing its sugar percentage from the single digits in sap to around 60 percent.
Grade A maple syrup comes in light, medium and dark amber, with the lighter color having more subtle flavor. Grade B syrup has a stronger flavor, making it good for cooking. Two excellent certified organic maple syrups from the Driftless Region are Maple Valley organic maple cooperative based in Cashton, Wisconsin, and Kickapoo Gold based in Viroqua, Wisconsin.
Nutrition: 2 teaspoons of maple syrup contains 22 percent daily value of manganese and 3.6 percent daily value of zinc, as well as a wide range of trace nutrients. It is a good sugar substitute for those who have intolerances to traditional cane sugar.