Do you have an undying sweet tooth? Do you just wish there were healthier ways to satisfy it? Try using maple syrup instead of sugar!
Well it’s springtime in Wisconsin and along with springtime comes the running tree sap. Hence my mind and taste buds turn toward thoughts of delicious maple syrup!
You can buy maple syrup in the store but we prefer to buy ours from a neighbor. We have several options around here of people to buy from. This is one way we can support someone else’s hobby and get a scrumptious, high quality product. Ask around to your neighbors and friends to see if you can buy syrup from them!
Why use maple syrup instead of sugar? Check out the Gendron’s website for a brief overview on the health benefits of maple syrup. Not only is it gentler than white sugar on your blood glucose but it also contributes some beneficial minerals!
Now remember, just because it is “healthy” or “natural sweetener” doesn’t mean you can go hog-wild with eating it! It doesn’t matter how natural any sweetener is, it still affects your blood glucose and triggers insulin to be released.
Oh, let me count the ways I can eat maple syrup!
Ways to Use Maple Syrup Instead of Sugar
- Coffee – My favorite way to enjoy maple syrup is in my coffee! I know it sounds weird but it is so delicious! The flavors blend perfectly and it really doesn’t take much syrup to take off the bitter edge. Pour me a cup of coffee with some cream and maple syrup and I’m in heaven.
- Applesauce – I can my own applesauce. Because I never know how sweet my blend of apples will turn out I don’t sweeten my sauce before I can it. After I open a jar I taste it and decide if it needs any sweetener or not. If its just myself eating it, I don’t usually add sweetener. If I’m serving it to guests, I usually add some maple syrup.
- Homemade yogurt – When I make yogurt I don’t usually fiddle around with flavoring it. Maybe it’s because my mom never made flavored yogurt when I was growing up. It is so much easier to make plain yogurt and then each serving has the opportunity to be any flavor you want! I add jam or peaches sometimes to my yogurt. But my all-time favorite for homemade yogurt is stirring in a splash of maple syrup.
- Homemade Ice Cream – I have this handy dandy throw-the-canister-in-the-freezer 1 1/2 quart size ice cream maker . This takes all the salt and ice mess out of homemade ice cream! I find it just as easy to grab a quart of heavy whipping cream from the store (I’m lazy and don’t skim the cream from my raw milk) as to grab a carton or two of ice cream. [Plus, it doesn’t melt on the way home from town!] After supper I whip up a batch of ice cream; substituting half of the sugar my recipe calls for with maple syrup. It freezes in the machine while I clean up the kitchen. Then we have fresh, soft (and pretty healthy) ice cream to enjoy during a movie.
- Store-bought Ice Cream – When I do buy ice cream from the store, it is usually vanilla. Vanilla is so easy to jazz up with syrups, peanut butter or turn into shakes. But when you just want a bowl of ice cream, drizzle a bit of maple syrup over the top and enjoy!
- Caramel Corn – Do you like to switch up your popcorn now and then? In a saucepan on the stove, combine equal parts butter with maple syrup. Bring it to a boil and boil 3 to 5 minutes. [The longer you boil it, the crispier your popcorn will be. Only boil a little bit if you’d like to make chewy popcorn balls.] Remove the boiled syrup and butter from the heat and drizzle it over your popcorn. Stir the popcorn until it is evenly coated.
- Sweet Tea – You can enjoy a refreshing glass of sweet tea more when you know it’s not loaded with refined sugar. Instead of adding sugar to the hot tea after it has steeped, stir in some maple syrup. Make sure to taste it after small additions of syrup because you may find you don’t need as much maple syrup as you do sugar. Plus, you can wait to add the sweetener after the tea has cooled because there is no waiting for sugar crystals to dissolve!
- Maple Syrup Snow Candy – Remember readingThe Little House on the Prairie series? In the first book, Little House in the Big Woods, the children have fun making snow candy when they go to grandma and grandpa’s house during the sap run. To make the candy, they would pour a bit of the boiling syrup over a plate of snow and let it harden. Simple and easy to do even out of maple syrup season. Get the exact directions for making maple candy from Nelle at Mama’s Homestead.
- Squash – Acorn squash is my favorite. And who doesn’t love a bit of butter and brown sugar inside of them…ok, a lot of butter and brown sugar! I like to use maple syrup instead of brown sugar when serving all of my winter squash.
- Pancakes and Waffles! – ‘Nough said.
I hope I’ve given you lots of fresh ideas for using maple syrup instead of sugar in your home! And what a better way to celebrate spring than by indulging in the sweet product of the season!