Bring a little something special to your meals this season by reaching for spring’s amber elixir, maple syrup. Not just for pancakes or waffles, maple syrup’s woodsy sweetness is so versatile that it effortlessly elevates sweet and savoury dishes alike.
As the snow slowly starts to melt and spring stretches over the land, it signals one of the most delicious times of the year. Sweet tooths rejoice as maple syrup season is once again upon us! While this golden tonic is a sugary treat, there is nothing sappy about pure maple syrup’s health benefits.
Pure maple syrup has been found to contain several antioxidant compounds. Maple syrup also contains a handful of minerals including zinc, magnesium, and manganese.
In the kitchen, maple syrup is a versatile natural sweetener that is just as at home in savoury recipes as it is in sweet ones. With an estimated 300 natural flavour compounds, maple syrup reflects the specific terroir of the trees it came from and brings a complexity to a recipe that few ingredients can.
Depending on how you’re planning to use your maple syrup, you might also consider stocking a couple of different colour classes. Maple syrup can range in colour from light golden to dark brown (see sidebar page 37). In general, the lighter the colour, the more delicate the maple flavour. So, while a golden syrup may be delicious over your stack of pancakes, a darker syrup is suggested when cooking or baking, as the maple flavour will shine through.
Get ready for a sweet spring: read on and take inspiration from the following recipes.
Maple Skillet Granola
Maple Seared Scallops with Green Buckwheat Risotto
Maple Chipotle Chicken Fajitas
Maple Roasted Beet Salad
Maple Turmeric Tonic
Making the grade
Canadian maple syrup is divided into one of four categories based on its translucence, or the amount of light transmitted through a sample.
- Golden is the lightest in colour and has a delicate flavour.
- Amber is more golden in colour and has a mild maple flavour.
- Dark is deep amber in colour and has a sweet maple flavour that is most recognizable. This is the type of maple syrup most commonly found in grocery stores.
- Very dark is dark brown with a robust, almost caramelized maple flavour. This type of syrup is best used in baking.