Find Your Sweet Spot: Visit a Maple Sugarhouse
March is Maple Month in the U.S. and Canada
As the sap starts to flow and sugarmakers begin making this year’s crop of pure maple syrup, visitors are being welcomed at thousands of maple sugarhouses in the U.S. and Canada. Now there’s a new resource at www.maplemonth.com to help people find their Sweet Spot.
Every spring, thousands of maple syrup producers in the Northern United States and Canada harvest sap from the region’s maple trees as they begin to thaw and boil the sap down to make pure maple syrup. This is the only region in the world where maple syrup is produced. Sugarmakers combine modern equipment with techniques that are hundreds of years old to make one of the region’s sweetest and tastiest foods. Sugarmakers use sustainable management practices, carefully stewarding hundreds of thousands of acres of North American forest so that each maple tree they tap will yield pure, unadulterated maple sap – the only ingredient in pure maple products – for many generations.
Many sugarmakers welcome visitors during the sugaring season, allowing people to learn about how maple syrup is made, and taste and purchase pure maple syrup, maple candy, maple cream, and other delicious products. The new website, www.maplemonth.com, helps consumers find sugarhouses to visit, as well as events taking place throughout the sugaring season.
While most people know maple syrup as a breakfast topping, cooks and consumers alike are discovering the versatility of maple syrup, using it in baking, marinades, dressings, and even cocktails. The www.maplemonth.com website contains links to many recipes that feature the distinctive taste of maple syrup.
Pure maple syrup is fat-free, allergen-free, and is lower in calories than most other sweeteners. Recent research has revealed that pure maple syrup not only has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners, but also contains important anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
The www.maplemonth.com website is the result of the joint effort between the North American Maple Syrup Council (www.namsc.org) and the International Maple Syrup Institute (www.
Here are some great recipes using pure Maple Syrup to enhance flavor:
Brussels Sprouts & Carrots with Maple Syrup
Yields 6 servings
2 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
6-8 medium carrots, peeled, halved length-wise and cut into 1-1/2″ pieces
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
2 tbsp pure Vermont maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Amber
1 tsp kosher salt
Place bacon in large pan over medium heat, stirring periodically. Once bacon has rendered fat, add carrots to the pan and cover, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally. After 6-8 minutes, add Brussels sprouts and cover the pan, stirring occasionally. When the carrots are browned and the Brussels sprouts are soft and golden brown, drizzle in maple syrup and add the salt. Stir to combine.
Serve and enjoy
Roasted Lemon-Maple Chicken
Yields 4 to 6 servings
One 4 pound chicken
2 lemons, one quartered and one for juicing
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 small onion, quartered
2 tablespoons pure Vermont maple syrup
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel one of the lemons, removing long, thick strips of zest. Reserve the zest and juice the lemon into a bowl. Combine the maple syrup and olive oil into the bowl and whisk to combine. Rub the chicken all over with the lemon zest and the garlic. Place the quartered lemon, onion, garlic, and lemon zest in the cavity of the chicken. Brush withe lemon juice-maple mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place chicken in roasting pan and place in oven. After 30 minutes, brush more of the lemon-maple mixture over the chicken and again after another 30 minutes. Continue roasting for an additional 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when cut between the thigh and the body. Let rest for ten minutes.
Peanut Butter Maple Cookies
Yields 16 to 24 cookies, depending on size
1/2 cup of butter softened (1 stick)
3/4 cup pure Vermont maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter, preferably natural chunky peanut butter
1-3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 375°F. Using mixer, combine butter and syrup until well-mixed and creamy. Add vanilla extract, egg, and peanut butter and beat until well-mixed and creamy.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture in several additions, mixing well before adding more.
Roll tablespoons of the dough into a ball and place on an ungreased baking sheet. At this point, if you prefer peanut butter cookies with the a crosshatch pattern, press cookies with a fork to create crosshatch. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool on the sheet for several minutes before transferring to a rack to completely cool.
Maple Bourbon Smash
Makes one drink
¾ ounce Vermont Maple Syrup*
6-8 mint leaves
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
Put the maple syrup and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker and muddle mint until mint has darkened and is quite fragrant. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice and add the bourbon. Stir vigorously until well chilled.
Fill a rocks glass or similar style glass with ice and strain chilled cocktail into glass. Garnish with mint and serve.
*In taste tests, we preferred Vermont Grade A Golden Color with Delicate Taste for this cocktail.