Ah, December. A month dominated by a single holiday – one in which we all sit back, enjoy the sweet, delicious foods, and put on a few extra kilos to help stave off the cold, cold winds of winter.
That’s right everyone, I’m talking about December 17th, international Maple Syrup Day (gotcha!)
Now, as many of you know, I married a Canadian, so a lot of his life at least revolves around a bunch of Canadian stereotypes like maple syrup, ice hockey, and being passive-aggressively polite. However, since I’ve known him, I’ve discovered that maple syrup is a much more diverse ingredient than we tend to give it credit for. While it is most popular as a topping to drench on flapjacks, waffles, pancakes, or crepes, maple syrup can be found in the most unexpected of places.
Here are five of my favourite alternative uses to Canada’s tastiest export!
- Butternut Soup
I wouldn’t be doing my job as a soup blogger justice if I didn’t start by pointing out maple syrup’s versatility in being a key ingredient in soup. I love butternut soup, and I make mine as thick and tasty as possible, usually using cream, bacon, and – you guessed it – maple syrup. The addition of maple syrup is usually minute, maybe only a tablespoon for a full pot of butternut soup, but it highlights the melange of fall flavours in there like squash, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Ice Cream
One of the most Canadian experiences I ever had was going through old-town Quebec City in summer and getting a soft-serve ice cream cone that was coated in maple syrup dust. Sure, it wasn’t the actual liquid syrup that was topping the ice cream, but my goodness I cannot believe that this isn’t more popular.
- Face Mask/Scrub
There are a lot of foods that are renowned for their health benefits on the outside of the body rather than just the inside – olive oil, honey, and avocado are the usual suspects. Maple syrup, on the other hand, doesn’t always come to mind when deciding what from your pantry should be put on your face. However, maple syrup is loaded with antioxidants that can help skin look healthy and retain moisture. And it actually works too!
- Baking Substitute
Maple syrup, as you might already know, is incredibly sweet. However, it is less unhealthy than granulated sugar, meaning you can get that same sweetness you need in baking without as much of the negatives you’d usually get. Often, this means there will be extra moisture in whatever you’re baking (liquid syrup vs sugar granules), but that’s an extra positive as well: maple syrup is helping combat dry cakes!
There’s just something magical when you pair maple syrup and meat – whether it’s a marinade on a steak or a teriyaki-like glaze on a salmon, there is no shortage of uses for maple syrup in cooking meat!
What about you? What is the wackiest way you’ve eaten maple syrup?