Maple syrup is the sweet, delicious syrup that's perfect on pancakes, waffles and more. It's also a great ingredient to use in dessert recipes. But is maple syrup vegan? Yes, maple syrup is vegan with a few exceptions which are discussed below.
How Is Pure Maple Syrup Made?
The only ingredient in 100% pure maple syrup is tree sap. Making maple syrup is as simple as boiling the sap from a sugar maple tree. The sap is about 2% sugar and 98% water, so when it's boiled that sugar is concentrated to make sweet maple syrup. The final product has a much higher sugar content - it's about 67% sugar - and a much lower water content.
But you need a lot of sap to make maple syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make only 1 gallon of maple syrup. Want to learn more the syrup making process? Check out How Maple Syrup is Made by Massachusetts Maple Producers Association.
Where is Maple Syrup Made?
In North America, maple syrup is made in both Canada and the United States. In the US, the majority of maple syrup is made in the Northeast and northern Midwest with Vermont being the biggest producer. In Canada, the Quebec region makes the most maple syrup.
When is Maple Syrup Not Vegan?
Usually, maple syrup is vegan. But during the production process, a lot of foam can be created. Sometimes manufacturers use animal fat to help remove the foam that's produced when boiling the sap. While this isn't common, it is possible. However, this process can also easily be done using vegetable oil which is the defoamer of choice.
How can you know for sure? First, check the product labels and ingredient list. Second, if you're still not sure you should contact the manufacturers and ask them directly. Third, you can choose to buy organic maple syrup which only uses organic vegetable oils in it's production.
Organic (Vegan) Maple Syrup Brands
If you want to be completely sure that your maple syrup doesn't use any animal ingredients, you can simply purchase organic maple syrup. There are many organic brands that can be easily found at grocery stores.
- Good & Gather Organic
- Maple Grove Farms Organic
- Shady Maple Farms Organic
- Thrive Market Organic
- Simple Truth Organic
- 365 by Whole Foods Organic
And many more brands!
Maple Syrup Vs. Pancake Syrup
Pancake syrup is simply fake maple syrup. It is not made from maple tree sap. Instead, the main ingredient is usually high fructose corn syrup. This makes a much cheaper product.
You'll find maple syrup and pancake syrup side by side in the grocery store. If you can't tell if it's vegan maple syrup or pancake syrup from the product name, simply check the ingredients. Below is the ingredient list for Log Cabin Original Pancake Syrup.
Log Cabin Ingredients: Corn Syrup, Water, Sugar. Contains 2% or Less of: Salt, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Preservatives (Sodium Benzoate, Sorbic Acid), Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid
There's no sap of the maple tree here!
Maple Syrup Vs. Agave Syrup
Agave syrup is also a vegan product made from the agave plant. Similar to maple syrup, agave syrup is a liquid sweetener. Light agave syrup doesn't have much of a flavor but adds a sweetness. Dark agave syrup has more of a flavor, similar to honey.
Agave syrup is lower in calories but higher in fructose content than maple syrup. Both liquid sweeteners can fit in with the vegan lifestyle. If you are looking for more flavor with your sweetener, maple syrup is the better source.
Vegan Recipes Using Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is great to bake with! It is a great vegan sweetener and substitution for honey. As it's much less processed than sugar, it's better for you as well. Check out the following recipes that use maple syrup instead of sugar.
- Simple Vegan Apple Crisp - This is a simple and delicious recipe for apple crisp with maple syrup instead of brown sugar.
- Easy No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Bars - This recipe only uses a handful of ingredients (including maple syrup) to make this sweet and decadent treat.
Is organic maple syrup vegan?
Yes! Organic maple syrup is completely vegan and does not contain or use any animal products.
Is maple syrup vegan and gluten free?
Yes, natural maple syrup is both vegan and gluten free.
Is maple syrup the same as golden syrup?
No maple syrup and golden syrup are not the same thing. While maple syrup is created by boiling the sap of maple trees, golden syrup is made by boiling sugar, water and citric acid.
Is maple syrup better for you than cane sugar?
Yes, especially as white sugar isn't always vegan because of the use of bone char. According to Peta.org, "Bone char—often referred to as natural carbon—is widely used by the sugar industry as a decolorizing filter, which allows the sugar cane to achieve its desirable white color."
If you are on a plant-based diet, maple syrup is a better choice than cane sugar. Real maple syrup is much less processed than table sugar as well.
Maple syrup is a delicious sweetener that can usually fit in with a vegan diet. It's great to use in dessert recipes and in sauces as well as on top of pancakes and waffles.
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