What are pancakes without maple syrup? If your baby is having pancakes or waffles, you’ll no doubt wonder if you can top them off with a little maple syrup. These foods can be somewhat dry, and syrup helps moisten them up a bit and is basically delicious, and really completes the experience for us. But is maple syrup something a baby should have?
Can I Give My Baby Maple Syrup? After 12 Months
There are several concerns when it comes to this item. The first is its high sugar level. Babies should not be given foods that will spike their blood sugar levels, especially when just starting out on solid foods. They digestion is sensitive, and sugar can be hard to process until they are older than twelve months. Too much sugar when they are transitioning to solids can lead them to having a tendency to consume sugary foods in later life and lead to problems like obesity and diabetes.
How Is Maple Syrup Made?
Maple syrup is made from the xylem sap of maple trees. The trees typically used for sap harvest are sugar maple, red maple and black maple trees. These trees will store starch in their roots before winter and the starch converts to sugar which rises in the sap when spring comes. The sap is harvested by tapping the trunks and collecting the sap which drips out. The collected sap is then heated to evaporate the water and leaves behind a concentrated syrup.
Definition of Maple Syrup
There are new laws which prevent misleading labeling of maple syrup and other similar pancake topping sauces. Canadian maple syrup must be 66% sugar and be made exclusively from maple sap to be classified as maple syrup. In the United States, maple syrup must be made almost entirely from maple sap.
What Do All The Grades Of Maple Syrup Mean?
Maple syrup is graded based on its density and how translucent it is. Maple syrup grades have nothing to do with quality or nutrition. The different grades of maple syrup, both American and Canadian, refer to the color of the syrup. Typically, the darker the maple syrup is, the stronger the flavor.
In Canada, there are three grades for maple syrup, and there are various color classes in each grade. You may find maple syrup graded as extra light, light, medium, amber and dark.
In the United States, maple syrup is divided into two grades, grade A and grade B and the grading system works on the translucence of the product. Grade A is divided further into three color grades of Light Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber. Grade B is a very dark syrup with a richer darker flavor, but is still a quality maple syrup product.
If a bottle of syrup is labelled as “Maple” and it has been produced in Canada or the United States it must have been produced according to strict standards. You are assured that you are using a quality product and the different shades and grades are a matter of choice and flavor.
Maple Syrup vs Pancake Syrup
Don’t confuse pure maple syrup with pancake syrup or other similar products. These are typically the sauces you would find at diners or other fast food restaurants and are generally not pure maple syrup. To be assured you are eating maple syrup you should see that the word maple syrup is on the packaging.
Alternative syrups are not made from maple sap, and are in fact made from high fructose corn syrup mixed with flavors to imitate a “maple syrup like” flavor and color. American labeling laws prevent these imitations from carrying the word “maple” on their labels. People can still find it confusing, but a good rule of thumb is that if the label doesn’t state “maple syrup” you are getting an imitation.
Where is Maple Syrup produced?
To produce maple syrup you require a cold climate. The Canadian Province of Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup; they produce approximately 80% of the world’s supply. In the United States, Vermont is the largest supplier of maple syrup.
When To Eat Maple Syrup?
You can add maple syrup to pancakes, waffles, French Toast, oatmeal, porridge… the list goes on and on. You can also use it when you are baking as a flavoring agent. Often the darker maple syrups are used in baking because they are a stronger flavor.
Health Benefits of Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is very sweet, so should always be given sparingly to small children. It is also a good source of zinc and manganese and has a positive effect on antioxidant and energy production in our bodies. Both zinc and manganese play an important role in our immune health.
Difference Between Organic and Non Organic Maple Syrup
All maple syrup is typically produced in the same way; maple trees are tapped, the sap is harvested and then boiled to evaporate the water content. All maple syrup producers must have a license and the processing plants are routinely inspected to ensure safe, sanitary production.
An organic classification is issued by an organic inspector who determines that no chemicals or pesticides are used in the general area, records on the organic production are kept and checked and that tapping guidelines are met. When choosing organic or non-organic maple syrup products, it is important to remember that all producers are licensed and must adhere to production guidelines. Buying organic produce is simply a matter of choice.
When you are looking at giving your baby maple syrup you should be sure to check the label to make sure it includes “maple syrup”. Labeling laws prevent other types of breakfast and pancake syrups which are not maple syrup from including these words on their packaging. Once your baby is old enough, you can give them a little but be mindful that this is a sweet product and your baby’s digestion may find it difficult to process. While we do give the approval for real maple syrup on occasion, you’ll still want to verify with your doctor whether this is something that is OK for your specific child. Only your doctor has their complete medical history available, and can make suggestions accordingly.