UPDATE:  I no longer use or recommend this alternative!  Go here for more information.

I used to think maple syrup was made by using 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, bringing almost to a boil and adding a capful or two of ‘mapleine.’  As I began to learn more about and understand whole and natural foods, I realized that only GOD can make maple syrup. 🙂  And while I once scoffed at people who paid a few dollars for a jug of something they could make themselves for cheaper, I began to search for the best deals – which were still several times as expensive as the fake stuff – on REAL maple syrup.  The kind harvested from maple trees.  The kind that was better for you and natural.  I enjoyed our occasional splurge, and was careful not to waste it.

But…

Have you priced maple syrup lately?  It’s really gotten out of hand.  A year ago I could buy a half gallon at Costco (sometimes organic) for about $20.  A few months ago it was available in quarts, for about $16-$17.  I choked, but I bought some anyway.  It was still cheaper than Azure, and there weren’t any other options, really.  Then, when I needed it again (and oh, I needed it!), Costco was out!  I inquired and they told me the Maple Mafia or whomever were working out their pricing for this year’s syrup, and they expected it by mid or late April.

I figured April 16 was time to check, and looked for it again.  Still nothing.  THIS time, my inquiry brought puzzled looks by the gals who searched through their mighty database.  Apparently it ‘had been on order last week’ but wasn’t even listed anymore.
It’s that Maple Cartel.  Those thugs priced themselves out of even Costco’s market!  Argh!

But I think I’ve found a way around it…
I occasionally bought Agave Nectar for Hubby to use, and when it went on sale this month from Azure, I bought a 44 oz jug (that’s weight… it’s about a quart by volume) for $7.25.  I used it this morning on my pancakes and it was… not bad!  Not maple-y, of course, but if I was motivated enough I bet I could mix in a bit of maple flavoring in a pinch.

I think I’ll buy a case of 6 jugs next month (it’s still on sale in May – $39.55 for the case), and thumb my nose at the Maple overlords.  That would bring my cost down to $6.67/quart.
Oh, and the bulk price for maple syrup from Azure is almost $25!!
So, if you’re hurting for something pure, natural, healthy(ish), but can’t quite bring yourself to put a dollar’s worth (or more) of something on each pancake you eat, I encourage you to give this a try.  And then tell me what YOU think!
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