Maple syrup, that most Canadian of things is actually an ‘Aboriginal’ thing. Indigenous to eastern Canada and used by the Indigenous peoples of these lands, maple trees have become symbolic of this country. The maple leaf forever: logo for national sports associations, ubiquitous souvenir of Canada, the flag worn on backpacks abroad to signify that you come in peace as a polite (maple syrup drinking) Canadian. And what would French toast be without maple syrup? Even the two solitudes can’t escape a sappy reference.
While others have a wine collection I recently started one of different grades of maple syrup: amber, dark and very dark. Apparently the darker the colour, the more intense the flavour. I personally found the opposite. The amber had a more pronounced maple taste while the darker versions had a muted sweetness. Which ever way you pour it or eat it, maple syrup is a sophisticated yet homey way to get one’s sweet tooth fix.
Though the sap typically runs late winter/early spring, it does suit autumn quite nicely. Here are some suggestions to make use of maple syrup in the fall.
- brown sugar and maple syrup combine nicely for the sugar component of pumpkin pie
- butternut squash soup with a touch of maple syrup
- cranberry sauce with some maple syrup for sweetness
- a little sap in your apple pie filling
- grated maple sugar on top of oatmeal
- balance the flavours of a Three Sisters stew (corn, beans, squash) with a splash of maple syrup
- maple pecans, almonds and/or walnuts