Why you should care

Looking for a new nutrient-rich natural beverage? Look no further than the clear liquid brought to you by maple trees.

Drink up, and hold the pancakes. It turns out that maple trees are good for more than just sweetening up your waffles and pancakes with their delicious syrup. Now, their sap can be used to hydrate us.

Drinking a glass of maple water might sound less than refreshing, and just a little bit gooey, but it turns out that’s not the case at all. When maple water companies Vertical Water and maple. sent me samples of their all-natural, plant-based beverages, their packaging reminded me of coconut water, a favorite drink of mine. When poured into a glass, both brands of maple water are clear and look exactly like plain water. I squinted at it, looking for signs of maple-ness.

Bottled maple water boasts half the sugar of coconut water and more manganese than one cup of kale.

A common misconception about maple syrup is that it flows directly out of the tree, looking thick and brown. Not true. When a maple tree is tapped, what actually flows out is clear maple sap, or maple water. Boiling 40 gallons of this watery sap is what gives maple syrup its familiar sticky consistency. When the sap comes out of the tree, it looks exactly as it does when you pour it out of bottled maple water: clear, with the consistency of regular water. Raw maple water is generally 98% plain water and 2% sugar.

While they are often compared to each other, maple water’s flavor tastes nothing like coconut water’s. Meant to be consumed chilled, maple water tastes like regular water with a hint of sweetness, and has a lasting sweet aftertaste. While coconut water seems a bit thicker than water, the consistency of maple water more closely resembles plain water. It does not taste like drinking watered-down syrup — it’s just like regular H2O with a hint of that familiar syrup flavor we all know and love. The brand maple. that I tasted was slightly sweeter than Vertical Water, although both tasted similar.

So what are the nutritional properties of maple water? In addition to being all-natural, bottled maple water has about 15 calories per 8-ounce serving, and boasts half the sugar of coconut water and more manganese than one cup of kale. (Manganese is a trace mineral that helps bone strength, thyroid health and vitamin absorption.) DRINKmaple, the company that created maple., says the water contains 46 vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants and prebiotics. However, because the product is so new, many claims about maple water have not been scientifically verified.

Vertical Water CEO Valentina Cugnasca suggests drinking the maple water on its own or mixing it into smoothies, cocktails or tea as a natural sweetener. She named her company after how the water flows vertically up and down a maple tree, and how she “helps keep the trees vertical longer” by giving forest owners a way to make money from their living trees.

While I haven’t yet replaced my cherished chocolate-flavored coconut water yet, maple water has become quite the staple in my green morning smoothies. Those of you looking to try maple water can find it most easily by ordering it online directly from suppliers or via retailers like Amazon. Some brands are selling in local health food stores in the Northeast and West Coast. And Whole Foods in West Hollywood, California, has already started selling Canadian bottled maple water, SEVA. Prices vary depending on brand, but range from approximately $2.49 for 8.5 ounces to $4.99 for 32 ounces.

Water — no goo allowed.

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