While a decade or two ago, maple syrup was mostly known as a great ingredient to ladle over your breakfast pancakes, nowadays it’s more widely recognized as a natural sweetener that can be a great alternative to other types of sugar. This sap-based condiment boasts a surprising amount of health benefits: As a sugar source, it ranks lower on the glycaemic index score than regular sugar, and it also contains a decent amount of minerals and antioxidants that ordinary sugar does not. Maple syrup contains manganese, zing, calcium, potassium, and up to 24 different types of antioxidants. Depending on which grade and colour of maple syrup you buy, the nutritional benefits can vary. Like honey, it’s also a natural inflammatory agent, which means it’s not just good for your insides in that respect, but it can also be good for the skin. Still, it’s important to choose a pure variety to obtain these benefits, so be sure to check the ingredients list if you’re purchasing it for these reasons.
How do you use it?
As we all know, maple syrup can be a great sweet condiment when spooned or drizzled over pancakes (whether that’s regular pancakes or even your protein pancakes, or whatever healthier variety of pancakes you opt for) as well as waffles and the like, but it’s also great when used as a substitute for white sugar or other sweeteners in various types of cooking and baking. Use it in brownies, banana bread, cupcakes, cakes, muffins, cookies, doughnuts, granola bars, and more – or use it as a glaze, on either sweet or savoury dishes. Maple-glazed meats can boast a deliciously sweet-yet-salty flair, while brushing then roasting vegetables in it can lend them a moreishly caramelized quality. It’s also great when used as a way to sweeten smoothies and shakes. Thick, pure, maple syrup and maple sap can even be hardened and made into candy.
Did you know it apparently takes around 40 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup? No wonder it’s not particularly cheap, especially when you’re opting for the higher-quality good stuff (but thankfully, the better the quality, the less you’ll need for its immense flavour). The country that’s the most famously associated with maple syrup is Canada – the maple leaf is even the most widely-recognized symbol of the country.