10 Facts About Maple Syrup

Ah, maple syrup. Whether in a breakfast bowl or dressing, or poured over crepes, it is simply irresistible. It’s harvested at the start of spring and then we stock up for the year, just in case we run out! Discover 10 tips and facts about maple syrup, the most beloved of Quebec ingredients.

1. The real deal

In Quebec, only products made from 100% maple sap can use the term “maple.” The mention of SIROPRO on a commercial product guarantees its authenticity. Sugar shacks must also use only 100% pure maple syrup in food preparation and table service. Beware of imposters: the words “pure” or “maple” can indicate the product contains corn syrup, sucrose, glucose and/or artificial flavours and colours.

2. Darn crystals!

Are there crystals in your syrup? Likely cause: storing it exposed to air promotes water evaporation and sugar crystallization. To eliminate this, place the container in a bain-marie (or the microwave), add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water per cup (250 ml) of syrup and gently heat. Then store syrup in the fridge in an airtight container.

3. Light please!

You calculate the translucence of maple syrup to determine its colour. Therefore, extra light syrup has at least 75% light transmission, light syrup has between 60% and 75%, and medium has between 44% and 60%.

4. A sugar shack classic

When sugaring-off season rolls around, maple syrup becomes the star of many sugar shack menus. Whether it’s in a ham, baked beans, pudding cake or stuffed dumplings, this ingredient is versatile in both sweet and savoury dishes. Support your local maple producers by purchasing a can of maple syrup and cooking a sugar-shack-inspired meal at home. It’s the sweetest time of the year!

5. Non-butter butter

Did you know that maple butter contains no butter? By heating maple syrup longer, you first get taffy, then butter and, finally, maple sugar. It all freezes beautifully.

6. Best before

Maple syrup will keep for several months. If you don’t plan to use it for a long time, mark the date on the container and freeze it. After opening, pour it into an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge, as well, for three to six months.

7. Better than sugar?

Unlike granulated white sugar, maple syrup has not been refined. That is why it contains several minerals, including iron and zinc, and vitamin B2, but you would have to eat a lot of it to take advantage of its health benefits. Better to simply enjoy its heavenly taste!

8. Cooking with maple syrup

You can replace white sugar with maple syrup in most recipes: decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe by 60 ml (¼ cup) for every cup (250 ml) of syrup used. Try it in our General Tao recipe or even in jam.

9. Blast from the past

Do you want to satisfy your sweet tooth? Place a thick slice of bread in a shallow dish, cover with grated maple sugar and top with a drizzle of 35% cream, just like the old days.

10. Homemade taffy

Impress the kids by making maple taffy at home: for four hungry mouths, empty one syrup container (540 ml) into a saucepan and boil until the candy thermometer reads 237°F (114°C). Use a metal spoon to pour onto a plate of firmly packed snow, bring out the wooden sticks and enjoy!

Hélène Laurendeau

A nutrition and health enthusiast who loves to share: this description fits Hélène Laurendeau to a tee. She has been active for more than 25 years in the media and communications field. Nutritionist, host, columnist, author and speaker, Hélène holds a Bachelor degree in Nutrition and a Master degree in Epidemiology. She has spread her knowledge alongside Ricardo every week since 2005, as part of his daily show broadcast on ICI Radio-Canada Télé, as well as in Ricardo magazine, where she pens the Bien se nourrir (Eating Well) column.