Friday, July 2, 2010
This post is dedicated to Canada's beloved maple syrup. "It is sweetener made from the sap of sugar maple or black maple trees. In cold climate areas, like Canada, these trees store starch in their stems and roots before the winter, which when converted to sugar, rises in the sap in the spring. Maple trees can be tapped and the exuded sap collected and concentrated. Quebec, Canada, produces most of the world's supply of maple syrup."
I visited a maple syrup farm in Quebec, when I was in high school. They literally stick a tap into the tree and hang a pocket underneath to collect the sap. However, the sap actually has the same consistency and color as water with a subtle hint of sweetness. The sap is collected and then concentrated in a plant to make syrup.
Like anything else you can put into your mouth, maple syrup can be connoisseured. There are several grades of maple syrup, in Canada, based on the color. There is the Extra light, Light, Medium, Amber, Dark. The dark grade syrup has a heavier flavour and rather rare and, thus, automatically became a foodie favourite. Aren't we predictable? Wholefoods carries all grades of maple syrup.
I use maple syrup to replace cane sugar and corn syrup in cooking. It caramelizes beautifully and can also help thicken sauces. Maple syrup is actually pretty heavy in calories, though. My amber #2 has 55 calories in 1 tablespoon. Use it wisely... and remember this next time before you drown your pancake in maple syrup.
Labels: Food Science