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Are you buying real maple syrup?

What does that even mean “real” maple syrup?

Australians enjoy a little dapple of maple syrup every now and again. Not as much as Americans and Canadians do. But enough for us to call it a pantry staple in Aussie homes.

Now, unfortunately, some of us are buying and consuming maple syrup that isn’t the real deal. We are led to believe it’s real maple syrup, the bottle looks like a maple syrup bottle, the syrup is the right colour and consistency, it might even sort of taste real. However, it is nothing but an imitation of the real deal, an imposter of condiments!

Imitation maple syrup might be something that you want to take a closer look at next time you are in the supermarket. Often the imitation syrups can be made using high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavourings such as butterscotch, caramel, vanilla and of course maple flavouring to make it taste like maple syrup. Oh, and don’t forget about the additives to give it that nice long shelf life!

That doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? All those chemicals mixed together and sold to us as “maple syrup”. No thanks!

Real maple syrup is nothing short of spectacular. It has been made by nature, so it has no artificial ingredients, not a single chemical in sight. Real maple syrup comes from the sap if the sugar maple tree. The sap is harvested from the trees toward the end of the winter each year. This is a process called sugaring. It takes time and is very labour intensive, it takes about 10 gallons of sap to make just one quart of maple syrup! Once the sap has been harvested it is boiled down to remove some of the water content, this process also intensifies the yummy flavour, increases sweetness and gives it that nice maple colour.

So how do I know what to buy?

This is the easy part, read the label. Under the ingredients section on the label, it will simply read Pure Maple Syrup. If there is anything else listed, it’s an imitation syrup and not the real deal.

With an enormous variety of products in the supermarket to choose from picking things up and reading the label doesn’t seem appealing. I get it we are all busy. But the consequences of not paying attention to what we are buying are real. Imitation products are manufactured to look and taste like the real thing. They are cleverly disguised and are unfortunately sold at a cheaper price to entice consumers. Paying attention when shopping is more important than ever. The more we reject these imitations and purchase fresh, authentic, organic products the better it is for the environment, small businesses, farmers and us as consumers.

Next time you’re at the supermarket take a few moments and look at what you are popping in your basket, I know you will be grateful you did.