Saturday, 16 March 2013

Maple Syrup Rocks!

I mixed some syrup with my water today for our Saturday morning long run. Now, I grabbed my blue agave syrup, but what would have worked just as nicely for a natural boost of energy at the mid-way point of our run is pure maple syrup. And who knew? It's actually good for you, in moderation - like red wine or olive oil. (Although my husband would love to drink great gulps of pure Canadian maple syrup, I'm pretty sure that would turn the good into the bad quite quickly.)

According to an article published in the Toronto Star a couple of years back, a university study showed 20 antioxidants in 20 litres of maple syrup from Quebec. Although researchers said more studies were still needed to show how that would benefit us, the compounds found in maple syrup were reported to have antibacterial, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties. Earlier research also revealed maple syrup to contain natural minerals including calcium, vitamin B, zinc, potassium and magnesium. (see the full article at , called "Here's Why Maple Syrup is Very Good For Your Health.")

We are fast approaching maple syrup festival time here in Simcoe County. It's a great time of year to get outside, breathe in the fresh spring air, and perhaps take a trip to a local maple syrup producer. Below are a few places that hold special events during maple syrup season, and also a  traditional recipe for french crepes passed down from my husband's grandmother (lots of "French connections" in his family.) Over the years, he has made countless crepes for us and for "sleepover guests," including many of our children's friends. They all love them, especially when they are doused in pure maple syrup. 

Maple Syrup Producers & Festivals in Simcoe County

Maple syrup festivals are brimming with, yes, maple syrup, and a whole whack of activities to do with the family, including taking tours and learning how maple syrup is made, enjoying pancake breakfasts in the great outdoors and often in beautiful, natural environments. Check the web sites for each location for more information on what they offer.

April 6 & 7:
Spring Tonic
Tiffin Centre for Conservation
8th Line Essa Township

April 6:
Sweetwater Festival
Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre

April 20
Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival

McCutcheon's Maple Syrup
3983 Line 9 N
Coldwater, ON
(While I have not visited this farm, they seem to have a great reputation as award-winning maple syrup producers.)

Simcoe County Farm Fresh
This is a great web site to visit where you can find local farms, learn about foods in season, and the importance of buying locally produced food. You can search "maple syrup" and find places that sell the pure stuff all throughout Simcoe County.

Here is our family recipe for french crepes. They are wonderful rolled up and drizzled with maple syrup, or you can roll them up with some slices of your favourite fruit and then drizzle with maple syrup. My kids like slathering them with a pat of butter, spreading some brown sugar on them, then rolling them up before topping with a drizzle of syrup. You can even top them with whipped cream, but personally, that's a bit rich for me!

Mike's Great Grandma's French Crepes

(Makes enough for about 3 to 4 people. We always end up doubling the recipe.)

1/2 cup flour
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp sugar
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together. Melt some shortening in a pan on high heat (crepe pan if you have one, but frying pan is fine). Pour batter from jug in a very thin layer. Wait until edges brown (about 30 to 45 seconds) and then flip the crepe, wait 15 seconds and voila! One crepe is cooked. Continue until you have a stack of crepes, then call everyone for breakfast (or dinner!)

More maple syrup recipes can be found at Enjoy!

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