Karo syrup is a line of corn syrups widely available in the United States. First introduced in May of 1903 by the Corn Products Refining Company of New York and Chicago. Until that time the grocery shopper had to carry a jug to the store to buy refills from the barrel. With the introduction of Karo syrups the shopper could now purchase easy to carry tins as seen in the picture above (which was borrowed from the companies website).
The name Karo is attributed to two possible sources. The first gives credit to the wife of the chemist who created the recipe. As the story goes her name was Carol and he coined the name in her honor.
Another possible source for the name traces back to another trademark for a table syrup called “Kairomel.”
Regardless of the name origin, the Karo brand has become synonymous with corn syrup to generations of American consumers. In fact the brand name has become so dominant that many long time users may not even realize that the syrup is derived from corn.
The company that produces Karo takes credit for popularizing the pecan pie recipe, which was created by the wife of one of their corporate executives back in the 1930’s.
Karo comes in three varieties
1) Karo Light — Infused with vanilla, this syrup was named (long before light meant low calorie) for it’s clear texture and milder flavor.
2) Karo Dark — Named for it’s rich brown color this is corn syrup has a darker molasses like flavor and is preferred for pecan pie recipes.
3) Karo Pancake Syrup — Introduced in 1938 as Karo Waffle Syrup, this blend has maple syrup mixed in to make it appetizing for breakfast.