Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Maples

Happy National Maple Syrup Day!
I had the coolest neighbor on the planet when I was growing up. Mrs. P was a teacher and a metalsmith at the local college, smart and funny and big-hearted and oh so tolerant of us kids...we were a bold and boisterous bunch! She let us eat raspberries from her vast berry patch every summer, brave dangerous speeds on their family's tree swing and walk their dog Timmy...simply the happiest bounciest yellow lab I can imagine. Mrs. P also let us tag along when she tapped the immense maple trees in the vacant lot next door. It was a wondrous sight, these quiet giants generously dripping their sap into a beltline of buckets around their trunks. I really did feel a sense of awe and gratitude for those merry maple trees...and for ever-patient Mrs. P.  :)

Honor the trees with a maple-kissed meal! Pancakes, French toast and waffles all scream for maple syrup but don't stop there! It rocks in all sorts of things...

from Shoshana at This Can't Be Vegan

from Richa Hingle via One Green Planet

from Kathy at Wednesday Food Blogging

from EatingWell

from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks

from Janet at the taste space

from Annie at an unrefined vegan

from Matthew at Vegan Thug Life

from Bambi at Go Dairy Free

from Naomi Rose at The Gluttonous Vegan

from Hannah at Bittersweet

Maple Syrup FAQ...
• Check out the ingredient list on a bottle of typical "maple syrup"...corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, water, cellulose gum, caramel color, salt, sodium benzoate and sorbic acid (preservatives), artificial and natural flavors, sodium hexametaphosphate. holyloadofjunk! Stick to pure maple syrup and organic if you can get it!
• Best places to buy maple syrup...farmers' markets near you or online, state fairs (look for blue ribbon winners!) and seasonal tours of your local maple syrup makers. I went on one of these a few years ago...superfun and lots of squealingly delicious samples of syrups and candies!  :)
• Traditionally most maple syrups have been graded A or B:
   A is made earlier in the season and is lighter in color and milder tasting.
   B is produced later in the season so it's darker and more truly maple tasting.
Either can be used on yumful breakfast foods, but B is better in baking and cooking (and topping ice cream!) because the maple flavor really comes through.
Update! As of 2014 maple syrup grades are changing to A Golden, A Amber, A Dark and A Very Dark...details here
• More helpful info and cooking tips here

Name your favorite maple-covered breakfast food. Have you ever visited a maple syrup farm? Are you a maple candy lover?  :)

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