My love of Maple Syrup has developed over the past few years since moving to Upstate New York. I do not know much about how many maple trees are in the area but I know enough to know that Upstate NY along with New England and Vermont make a TON of maple syrup! JJ and I were driving home from Stratton, Vermont one day when I made JJ stop abruptly and pull over when I saw a farmer selling maple syrup and honey on the side of the road (good thing there was no one else around!)
The first thing the farmer said when we got up to his truck was “Are you familiar with the maple?” and of course I was so eager to get some maple syrup I said “YES OF COURSE!” he was super sweet and told us a little about the process of maple syrup and the different grades. If you are ever in the Vermont area check out Twin Brook Maple Farm their maple syrup is just amazing.
Also speaking of Vermont if you want a taste of the local flare head over to The Vermont Country Store there is nothing else like it and it just makes me smile every time I go in there. They sell amazing cookbooks, homemade soap, MAPLE SYRUP galore, cast iron pans and so much more, oh yea AND they have free food samples all day long! Win!
So while I am not telling you that you can go and chug a bottle of this liquid gold each day I am letting you know that this natural (*ugh what a generic word) product from our maple trees can be beneficial to you in SMALL quantities and only if you are putting sugar in a once in a while treat….got it?
So once we get past that, what are the benefits?
1. Minerals: calcium, potassium, iron, zinc & maganese…all things that table sugar does not have! Woohoo!
2. Antioxidants (higher in the darker grades): i.e. reduce DAMAGE in the body…but remember SUGAR causes that damage so SMALL quantities
3. Lower Glycemic Index than table sugar…i.e. won’t spike your blood sugar as quickly…but remember it’s still sugar
Next up I always get the question…what is the difference in the lettering of maple syrup?
Grade A which includes: Vermont Fancy/Light Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber
Grade B (my personal fave)
The difference has to do with when they are harvested from the trees…the later in the season, the darker and richer in maple flavor the syrup! So, start with Fancy/Light and you end up with Grade B! The darker maple-y flavored syrups (read Grade B) are generally best for baking but I use it in my coffee once in a while and my Pumpkin Spice Lattes (sign up for our mailing list and you’ll get this recipe FO FREE!)…and I am not talking the Starbucks kind!
Alright so what else to do with your maple syrup? Try them on sweet potatoes of course, perfect THANKSGIVING side dish! And if you spill any make sure you do NOT waste it or clean it with a rag…lick it up this stuff is liquid GOLD!
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2-3 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, grade B
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 425 °F.
- Toss sweet potatoes in coconut oil, maple syrup and cinnamon to coat evenly.
- Place sweet potatoes in a single layer on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, turning once, until golden around edges and cooked through.
- Sprinkle with salt.
The crisp on these is fantastic and it almost tastes like breakfast 🙂
So if you are going to have some type of added sugar I recommend:
1. Adding it yourself in SMALL quantities
2. Substitute refined sugar (the white gritty stuff) with Maple Syrup or Honey (check the labels to make sure it is REAL…sad that I have to say this but the sad truth)
3. BUY LOCAL! Go find your local farmers and ask them how they make the syrup/honey and you will notice each farm has a UNIQUE flavor profile, yum!
Stay Sassy and Have a FABULOUS Thanksgiving!