Dr Oz: How Maple Syrup Is Made
What is maple syrup? Well, real maple syrup comes from maple syrup. In cold weather, maple trees store starch in their trunks and as temperatures rise, that starch is converted to sugar in sap. To make syrup, holes are drilled into the trunks of the trees and the sap is collected. That sap is then boiled to evaporate the water. Once filtered, you’re left with maple syrup, with the flavor, color, and sugar content of 60% you know and love. The darker the syrup, the stronger the flavor.
To produce just one gallon of syrup, you have to boil 40 gallons of sap, which explained why pure maple syrup is so expensive. That’s also why so many companies attempt to stretch it by adding water. They also use thickening agents like cellulose gum with high fructose corn syrup to sweeten it.
Julia Collin Davison from America’s Test Kitchen explained that pancake syrup and maple syrup aren’t the same thing. Pancake syrup is either a corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup loaded with chemical flavorings, preservatives, and coloring.
Dr Oz: What’s In Pancake Syrup
Real maple syrup has just one ingredient: 100% pure maple syrup. If you look at the label of a popular store-brand pancake syrup, you’ll see a lot more ingredients, none of which are maple syrup! Caramel coloring is often used in the syrups, and Julia explained that most caramel coloring contains something called 4MEI which is a known carcinogen. There’s not a lot, but as Julia said, if you’re eating it often, a little bit can go a long way.
Julia and Dr Oz then wanted to tackle the rumor that syrup is a healthier alternative to sugar. Julia explained that it’s actually a bit controversial. Maple syrup is “less processed” because it’s only boiled down but when you look at the serving size, you’ll see that comparatively the sugar and calories are the same.
A true serving size is 1/4 cup, which is 200 calories and 50 grams of sugar for maple syrup, which is more sugar than a soft drink. Pancake syrup has the same amount of sugar and calories, with added chemicals.
Dr Oz: Make Maple Syrup Last Forever
Dr Oz and Julia then discussed worries that maple syrup will spoil. Julia explained that as soon as you open a bottle of maple syrup, it should be put in the fridge, or else mold can grow on top. In the fridge it can last 6 months to a year. To make it last even longer, you can store your maple syrup in the freezer and it will last indefinitely. Because it’s almost entirely sugar it won’t freeze, but you want to let it come to room temperature before you use it.
As for those who believe the darker the syrup, the better the quality, Julia said not so fast! Syrups taste different depending on the color, but you can have a high quality light syrup and a high quality dark syrup.
If you taste real maple syrup and then try pancake syrup, just like Dr Oz did, you’ll realize that pancake syrup tastes more like candy than maple. Dr Oz brought in two kids and their moms to taste-test two different syrups, one of which was fake and was of which was real. Three out of four correctly guessed which syrup was real.
So many people believe real maple syrup is expensive, but as Julia explained, if you use the right serving size, it can cost less than $1 per serving.