Maple Syrup: Spring's Natural Sweetener | Natural Gourmet Institute

Maple Syrup: Spring’s Natural Sweetener

Posted April 26, 2018

Natural Gourmet Institute is rooted in using seasonal, local, whole or minimally processed ingredients whenever possible. NGI always looks forward to Spring, as our list of available seasonal and local items begins to grow. One unique item that this season brings us is maple syrup.

Spring’s warmer temperatures in New England coax sugar maple trees to turn stored starch back into sugar. A pattern of freezing and thawing temperatures (below freezing at night and 40-45 degrees during the day) will build up pressure within the trees causing the sap to flow from the tap holes. This process usually runs from late February to early April, making May the perfect time to purchase maple syrup or maple crystals.

When it comes to using sweeteners in recipes, NGI opts for maple crystals, maple syrup, and other natural sources of sugar in place of white, refined sugar. Check out these recipes for various ways to use this seasonal, natural sweetener.

  • Vanilla Balsamic Granola with Cherries: The maple syrup in this recipe helps balance out the tartness of the cherries and tanginess of the balsamic vinegar.
  • Vegan Frittata Brunch: Chef Instructor Olivia Roszkowski uses a few teaspoons maple syrup to sweeten the carrot “bacon” for this Vegan Frittata Brunch.
  • Smoked Corn Chowder: This vegan chowder contains several different elements, and the maple syrup helps add just a touch of sweetness to the squash, which brings out the vibrant color of the dish.
  • Orange Dijon Dressing: This dressing is used for a squash salad recipe, but it is perfect for any seasonal dish. Maple syrup and Dijon mustard always make a good combination in our books.
  • Strawberry Cashew Raw Cheesecake: Dessert recipes are where NGI most commonly uses natural sweeteners. Maple syrups not only helps sweeten this raw cheesecake, but also plays a part in binding the ingredients.
  • Double-Chocolate Black Bean Brownies: This recipe is a healthier alternative to your average brownie. The maple syrup helps cover the taste of the black beans, which provide a boost of fiber and protein.

Resources:

https://vermontmaple.org/how-maple-syrup-is-made

https://www.discovernewengland.org/things-do/new-englands-maple-sugaring-season