Sunday, December 5, 2010

Maple Syrup and the Winter Blues...

Its around this time of year that I generally think about maple syrup.  Its not tapping season, its not the pancake breakfasts that happen throughout the summer here in Verona....its the time of year that the real stuff gets very scarce!  If you consider its the farthest time of the year since the tapping last kinda makes sense. 

We love us some maple syrup in our house....and not just because of the home made pancakes that get served under them!  (although they are a huge plus!)

From my days with the tree trimming crew in Oshawa Hydro, I remember Stan Turk telling me all about the types of trees out there.  He'd give me a daily quiz on tree species, that was when I found out that sugar maples are in fact the only maple that actually produces the sap to create the wonderful syrup. 

When I first moved to the country, I made an effort to buy locally and support the folks I shared a community with.  The first time I tried to purchase maple syrup I was asked what kind I wanted.....I was like a deer in the head lights....what kind?  The syrup-y kind, of course!

Here's a run-down on the types available if you know where to buy:

Light:  Pale golden, with a delicate flavour, almost watery in texture
Medium: Light amber, rich but mild in flavour
Amber:  Medium amber, with a robust flavour
Dark: Dark amber and very strong in flavour, very sticky and syrupy

My personal favorite is the Medium but it seems like its the favorite of everyone else in South Frontenac as it sells out the quickest.  Its the best of both get a light syrup with a very pleasing flavour.  It doesn't hit you over the head with sweetness.  Each person I've spoken with at the farmer's market over the years has their favorite eating syrup and their best syrup for cooking.

It was very recently that I've been discovering the nutritional properties of the real maple syrup!  What a bonus!

Maple Syrup50 cal/15 ml
Fructose46 cal/15 ml
Brown Sugar51 cal/15 ml
Corn Syrup60 cal/15 ml
Honey64 cal/15 ml
Not too shabby!

When you compare with other sweeteners, its hands down a great natural alternative to refined sugars. 

Add this information with the following stats and your natural conclusion might be to start adding maple syrup to everything!

Maple Syrup has about the same 50 cal/tbsp as white cane sugar. However, it also contains significant amounts of potassium (35 mg/tbsp), calcium (21 mg/tbsp), small amounts of iron and phosphorus, and trace amounts of B-vitamins. Its sodium content is a low 2 mg/tbsp.

Maple syrup can be declared a good source of 3 essential elements - calcium, iron and thiamin.

( source: )

Maple syrup still contains 43 grams of carbs per 50ml serving, so don't go crazy if you are counting carbs or a diabetic.

Here is a great recipe for the pancake lover in you.  Its packed with hidden proteins so its actually the pancake that is GOOD for you!!!


Quinoa Pancakes

1 cup cooked quinoa
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon course salt
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet
1/4 cup lowfat milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
fresh fruit or fruit preserves (optional) for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, egg white, butter, milk, and syrup until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine.
  2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter and heat over medium-high. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, 2 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more melted butter and remaining batter (reduce heat to medium if overbrowning). Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit or preserves if desired.
Makes about 12.

One cake

Total Fat (g)

Carbs (g)

Fiber (g)

Sugar (g)

Protein (g)

( source: )

I have more maple syrup recipes...but you'll just have to wait until spring time for those yummy treasures!

Until next time....

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