Who would have thought tree sap could taste so good? It does if you eat the right kind. Authentic, pure maple syrup is a product of eastern North America, harvested in places like Quebec, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. As an export, it is famous among Asian and European countries where tourists bring it home in quantities from a few milliliters to giant bottles.
Watch Out for Fakes
Beware of pretenders. Syrups billed as “Maple” products are often produced with other ingredients, including synthetic maple flavoring. There might not be a drop of maple sugar in them. If you see a cheap version at the grocery store, it is probably not the pure stuff but contains corn syrup and other additives which cost less. Even fruity variations of the real thing are not necessarily pure and, hence, not as good for you.
Uses for a Popular Sugar
Any syrup is really sugar with the liquid boiled away, and can be made from lots of ingredients. Thick syrup is lovely for pouring onto waffles, French toast, crepes, and pancakes. Some people add it to ice cream, smoothies, or use it to sweeten oatmeal.
Maple sugar candies are popular Canadian exports, available at tourist shops from east to west. Canadian airports usually sell maple lollipops, toffees, and other sweets. As a flavor additive, just a little goes a long way in breads, cookies, cakes, chocolates, drinks, and exotic dishes.
The winter sap harvest is associated with games, even full-sized carnivals, where kids eat it the old-fashioned way. When it snows, they pour it onto a clean bank of flakes (no yellow snow, of course), harden the sugar, and suck on it: voila, instant candy!
If you normally add sugar to tea, coffee, or pure hot chocolate made from cocoa, consider replacing it with this pure product. Not only is it another form of sugar, but it is typically sweeter than other sweeteners. Use it the way you would use honey: in moderation. Do not try to replace granulated sugar with maple syrup, teaspoon for teaspoon. Your teeth will hurt. Although it is expensive (partly because maple sap is harvested in small quantities from a few locations annually), justify the price by remembering that you use less and it is a health food.
A Popular and Healthy Product
Scientists researching this natural sugar have been discovering many health benefits associated with it. While it is has been known for a long time that the calories in this tree sap are good for you, researchers know more than ever.
They associate it with male fertility. So, men who are concerned with virility might want to add some of the syrup to their brownie recipe.
As an antioxidant, syrup from maples is hard to beat. It contains stuff that fights cancer, inflammation, and more. Inflammation is associated with many common diseases and conditions including asthma and allergies. As for cancer, that is the scourge of modern society. You might not have found a cure, but a dose of syrup could act as a partial preventative, and one that is easy to swallow. Visit http://www.coldhollow.com/browse.cfm/maple-syrup/2,9.html to purchase authentic maple syrup of your own.