When you think of maple syrup, you probably think of pancakes, French toast, etc. What if I told you maple syrup can have a bigger, more important role in your life, outside of brunch hours? With the guidance of Maple by Katie Webster, I spent a day using maple syrup with every meal.
I also explored its potential household, cosmetic, and medical usefulness.
Selecting the Right Syrup
My first step was finding the syrup for this experiment. What I thought would be the easiest part, actually proved to be a bit challenging. Don’t be fooled! 8 out of 10 products on the syrup shelf in stores are merely table syrup, containing high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sodium benzoate among other artificial nonsense – and absolutely no maple-ness. I almost doomed this experiment before I even started by not checking the ingredients.
I selected a bottle of Archer Farms 100% Pure Maple Syrup. Its list of ingredients include: pure maple syrup. That's it. It's in a small glass bottle so you know it’s good! I gave it a small taste. While it had all the sweetness you’d expect, there was a distinct, distinguished flavor that I’ve missed out on during all those years of blind loyalty to Mrs. Butterworth’s.
And thus, I used maple syrup...
Maple syrup on some toaster waffles. So original! I think we all know what to expect here.
I thoroughly sweeten my coffee to begin with, so this was nothing unusual. I started with a small cup first and added a little trickle of maple syrup. It was surprisingly delicious! I went back for a full second cup. I honestly might make it my go-to coffee sweetener from now on. The maple flavor balanced well with the coffee and cream. And the sweetness was less aggressive than my usual five heaping spoons of sugar.
It was runny and difficult to apply and it made my hands sticky. Once it dried, my armpits felt crusty and weird and I smelled like a soggy pancake. Don’t waste your precious syrup like I just did.
as lip balm
I dabbed some on my lips to see if there was any moisturizing benefits. It felt and tasted nice at first, but within minutes, my lips felt sticky and I found myself licking them constantly for the rest of the day… resulting in chapped lips.
For lunch I made the Layered Beet and Carrot Salad from Maple. After lots of shredding, mincing, and mixing, I had a vibrantly colored salad. I mixed in a dressing made up of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard and a few spices and topped it off with spiced pecans and crumbled bacon. It was delicious and filling. I highly recommend it!
I ran out of post-it notes, so I used a smear of syrup on a loose piece of paper and stuck it to a page in my daily planner. It makes the paper stick but does not hold up under any pressure. The note was only meant to be temporary, but the wet and sticky brown spot it left is definitely permanent.
as a cleaner
I soaked a rag in maple syrup to wipe down the kitchen counter. Not only did it provide no cleaning benefit whatsoever, but I spent the next 5 minutes trying to scrub it off with REAL household cleaner. Its stickiness is very pervasive on countertops.
with a snack
Hard sourdough pretzels dipped in maple syrup. The dip improved this common snack from extremely bland to just kind of bland.
as an ointment
I applied a little syrup on a few newly acquired mosquito bites. The cool temperature provided a momentary soothing, but its relief did not last long. I now fear a completely counterproductive effect since I’ve just marinated my ankles in sweet syrup.
For dinner we picked another recipe from Maple: Balsamic Caramelized Onion Pizza with Arugula and Maple Drizzle. We didn’t have many of the required ingredients, so we diverted from the recipe and ended up making naan bread pizza with cheese, arugula, chicken sausage and most importantly, the maple drizzle. Much like the pineapple on a Hawaiian pizza, the maple adds a lovely sweet note to a generally salty entrée. Another tasty meal!
This was… interesting. My teeth had a nice glazed feel to them. On the bright side, there was none of that foamy mess around my mouth; on the not so bright side I have three cavities now.
You know how clean your mouth feels after you leave the dentist? Well, it was nothing at all like that.
Ok, so not everything is better with maple syrup, but it does indeed have other uses, such as an alternative sweetener or as a complimentary flavor in a savory dish. Just try to keep it in the kitchen...and out of your armpits!
Check out Katie Webster’s awesome cookbook, Maple, for some cool science and history, 100 easy and delicious recipes, and everything maple. Add a little more maple into your life!