Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Can You Name A 100% Natural, Healthy, Delicious, Guilt-Free Sweetener?

A University of Rhode Island researcher has recently discovered there are more than 20 different compounds in maple syrup that are linked to human health, 5 of which have never been seen in nature, most of which have only been discovered in the last 2-3 years. These newly identified antioxidant compounds i>>n maple syrup are reported to have anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. (Science Daily, Mar, 30, 2011)
Is there anyone else shocked to find that something as sweet, sticky and wonderful tasting as pure maple syrup could actually be good for you?!

Okay, so even if you didn't go out and tap the maple trees in your yard as suggested in You Can Make Maple Syrup (Seriously...It's Easy!) or follow the step-by-step instructions on how to boil it down in Let's Make Syrup (part 2) (which by the way, you still can, because with this crazy, wintry, so-called spring we're having, the maple sap is still flowing like crazy!), you can still make the decision to buy pure maple syrup and start incorporating it into your diet anywhere you would normally add a sweetener.
Maple Syrup Latte

 This morning I added it to my coffee with some half-and-half (Mmmmm...), last night I made fresh-squeezed lemonade, replacing the sugar with maple syrup (fabulous...and I didn't have to deal with trying to get the sugar to dissolve!), and I've read you can replace it in baking for the sugar (use 3/4 cup maple syrup for every 1 cup of sugar called for in a recipe, then reduce the liquid content by 3 T).

Whatever you do, don't mistake that pancake syrup stuff for pure maple syrup. Take a look at the following side-by-side comparison:

So can you think of any other creative ways to use maple syrup instead of sugar? I saw some recipes for salad dressings, marinades, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots. Opt for maple syrup instead of refined sugar or artificial sugar substitutes in coffee, tea or maybe on your grapefruit. Now I'm not saying to go crazy and declare a Maple Sugar Diet frenzy, because after all, it is still high in sugar, but just consider using it in places where you would normally use sugar.

Unfortunately, pure maple syrup is expensive. I noticed in the store a 12oz. bottle was $9.47!...but if you tap your own maple trees you can make it yourself for free (except for the cost of the $2.99 tapper, which is cheaper than sugar). Already this year we've gotten more than 2 gallons, so you can bet we're going to be finding some mighty creative ways to add this sweet, delicious, healthy syrup into our diets!

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