80% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada and 90% of that from Quebec, so who better to be giving away maple syrup to Sweet Beet readers than The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.
How to enter? Leave a comment with either, “My favorite way to eat maple syrup is…” or “My most memorable maple syrup moment was…” Two people will win a gift pack with four sample bottles of different types of maple syrup. (They sent me a pack and there seems to have been a strong correlation between the moment it entered my kitchen and my crepe consumption…).
My strongest memories of eating maple syrup, was not on pancakes but on snow. I grew up in Canada, with a four-year stop in Quebec. On warm spring weekends we would go cross country skiing, North of Montreal, through a snowy forest of maple trees. This would be followed by a stop at the sugar shack, right in the middle of the forest, where we’d be handed a cafeteria-sized tray of snow over which syrup, resembling molten lava, retrieved from a giant vat of bubbling sap, had been drizzled.
With a pop-sickle stick we’d pull the hardened syrup off the snow, twirl it around our wooden utensil and eat it like taffy. This celebration of the one-month-long sap-tapping period, is known as “sugaring-off”.
As for whether, maple syrup is any better for you than other syrups, it’s sort of a yes and no answer, but there are some of you who were shocked when I wrote a post about sugars and did NOT include maple syrup! A massive oversight, especially for a Canadian. Here’s what I would have said …
- There are over 50 different antioxidants in maple syrup (similar to those in berries, green tea and flax seeds).
- It contains several trace minerals including zinc, manganese and potassium
- Compared to honey, maple syrup has significantly more calcium
- Maple syrup is largely sucrose (similar to table sugar) so it will have a similar effect on blood sugar.
- Many of the cheaper brands use corn syrup as the primary ingredient, along w ith flavoring and color. If it does not say, “maple syrup”, it’s maple-flavored sugar. (Legally, the product name can not contain the word “maple” at all, unless it is pure maple syrup.)
- If you see Grade B on the bottle, it doesn’t mean it’s inferior, it means it was drawn from the tree near the end of the season when the sap is more concentrated, with darker color and deeper flavor. Grade B has a slightly higher mineral count than the lighter Grade A.
- Within Grade A, there are lighter and darker varieties – the lighter ones are tapped earlier in the season and are milder in flavor.
- It can easily substitute for honey or molasses in baking or as a substitute for simple syrup in cocktail mixing.
For more info on maple syrup, go to www.purecanadamaple.com
Support your Northern neighbor. Eat pancakes. (Or wait for a snowy day and pour it on snow.)