It’s officially maple syrup season in our books. The weather is getting warmer (we hope!) and the sap is starting to flow. It’s at this time of year that we really start to celebrate all things edible in Ontario. It’s that return from sleep, the awakening that stirs in all of us as the ground starts to thaw.
That being said, when it comes to maple syrup, many tend to stop short at the pancake. Sure, we love a good griddle cake — who doesn’t — but there’s so much more you can do with the sweet and sticky crop.
Here are five things to do with maple, no flipping skills required.
Bake it into beans.
Maple baked beans are a amazing accompaniment to a classic fish fry, but they’re also a great way to jazz up an english breakfast or add a fun twist to a southern style feast. We really dig the ones on the menu at the Lancaster Smokehouse!#FeastOn
Smother trout in it. Smoke. Smother. Repeat.
The earthy, sweet flavour of maple makes it perfect for brining Ontario trout — and basting during the smoking process. Don’t have a smoker? Don’t worry! It’s also great on baked fish; just remember, for both methods, to water it down a touch to keep it from burning.
Brine some pork in it.
If there’s anything we learned from Chef Elbert Wiersema of Niagara Parks Elements On The Falls, it’s that everything tastes better with a little maple love. Next time you’re making ribs or a roast, he says to brine it in a mix of maple and water (or beer!). The sweet earthiness is perfection. #FeastOn
Steep tea with it.
Whether you’re brewing up a batch of Canadian Maple Tea from Pluck Teas or a good ‘ol cup of earl grey, try sweetening your concoction with a hint of maple syrup. Your body will thank you as unlike white sugar, maple contains 24 different antioxidants and has a lower glycemic index.
Shake it into a cocktail.
Is there anything more Canadian than whiskey and maple syrup? Maybe beer and bacon, but we’ll keep those on our plates. Whiskey and Maple Syrup though, make a mean cocktail! We dig this muddled mint and maple number from Christina Kuypers circa 2013.
Looking to visit a sugar bush this season? Look no further than the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association! They represent over 400 Ontario maple syrup producers in the province and have everything you need to enjoy this sticky, sweet season.
While you’re at it, pour yourself a glass of freshly tapped Sapsucker. They’ve taken delicious maple sap and bottled it as a sustainable bottled water alternative. Try it, we know you’ll love it!