Maple Syrup - Imitations and Substitutions

Imitations and Substitutions

In the United States, "maple syrup" must be made almost entirely from maple sap, although small amounts of substances such as salt may be added. "Maple-flavoured" syrups include maple syrup but may contain additional ingredients. "Pancake syrup", "waffle syrup", "table syrup", and similarly named syrups are substitutes which are less expensive than maple syrup. In these syrups, the primary ingredient is most often high fructose corn syrup flavoured with sotolon; they have no genuine maple content, and are usually thickened far beyond the viscosity of maple syrup. The fenugreek seed, a spice with high amounts of sotolon, can be prepared to have a maple-like flavour, and is used to make a very strong commercial flavouring that is similar to maple syrup, but much less expensive; one such syrup, Mapleine, was popular during the Great Depression.

American labelling laws prohibit imitation syrups from having "maple" in their names. In Canada, syrup must have a density of 66° on the Brix scale to be marketed as maple syrup. Québécois sometimes refer to imitation maple syrup as sirop de poteau ("pole syrup"), a joke referring to the syrup as having been made by tapping telephone poles.

Imitation syrups are generally cheaper than maple syrup, but tend to taste artificial. A 2009 Cook's Illustrated comparison between top-selling maple and imitation syrups consistently rated the real maple brands (Maple Grove Farms, Highland Sugarworks, Camp Maple, Spring Tree, and Maple Gold) above the imitation brands tested (Eggo, Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth's, Log Cabin, and Hungry Jack).

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Famous quotes containing the word imitations:

    Our vices always lie in the direction of our virtues, and in their best estate are but plausible imitations of the latter.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)