In Italy, until a few years ago, it is Maple syrup it was almost exclusively associated with Canada, the country in which it is produced, and with pancakes, the fluffy American pancakes to which it is poured abundantly to give life to a rich breakfast. Only recently has this natural sweetener begun to intrigue even Italians, also thanks to the food trends that from social networks such as TikTok and Instagram also affect our pantries and our eating habits, increasingly contaminated by foreign recipes and ingredients. The result is that, in recent years, maple syrup has lost its title as a niche import product, to become a fixed presence on supermarket shelves as well as a curious novelty in the kitchen.
Maple syrup: natural, low-calorie and versatile sweetener
This amber colored syrup was born in North America and is obtained from the sap of the sugar maple, which is harvested in the spring. The process of transforming the sap into maple syrup does not involve the addition of any thickener, dye or preservative, which makes this 100% natural and genuine sweetener. Furthermore, this syrup is the third least caloric natural sweetener in the world: only 250 calories per 100 grams of product, compared to almost 400 for sugar. Low in calories, fat and cholesterol, maple syrup is instead rich in calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins of group B. Finally, there are three different types of maple syrup, namely A, B and C; each with a different amber color, a different level of refinement and a more or less intense flavor, from the lightest and most delicate to the darkest and sweetest.
10 creative uses in the kitchen, from desserts to savory dishes
Maple syrup is not only the ideal garnish for a pancake-based breakfast, but a versatile ingredient from the most disparate uses. In fact, it can be used to garnish rich breakfasts based on yogurt and cereals or spoon desserts, to sweeten cakes and biscuits, but also to glaze, marinate and give a sweet and sour touch to savory dishes. So let's find out 10 possible uses in the kitchen of this valid alternative to sugar and honey.
1) For a rich and nutritious breakfast
Maple syrup can be poured on a tower of fluffy pancakes, but also as a garnish waffles, french toast and crêpes. Another idea could be to use it to sweeten a chia pudding, a porridge or a tasty bowl based on Greek yogurt, granola or cereals, fresh and dried fruit, seeds.
2) For granola and cereal bars
On the breakfast and snack front, maple syrup can be used instead of honey for homemade bars and granola, mixing it with oat flakes and dried fruit.
3) On ice cream and spoon creams
To give an edge to spoon ice creams and creams, from puddings to a simple Chantilly cream, you can add a few drops of good and decorative maple syrup.
4) To sweeten cakes and biscuits
For sweets lovers looking to keep fit and follow a low-calorie diet, the syrup can be added to the mixture of cakes, donuts and biscuits, instead of sugar.
5) For the caramelized fruit
An original use of maple syrup can be to flavor caramelized fruit to bake, from apples to pears, up to peaches and apricots. The final result, sweet and tasty at the right point, can be enriched, for example, with chopped dried fruit, cinnamon and a scoop of ice cream.
6) To sweeten drinks
Who said that i sugary drinks must they also be extremely caloric? Maple syrup can sweeten, giving a pleasant aromatic and colorful note, to drinks of all kinds: tea, herbal teas, coffee, lemonades, fruit juices, cow's or vegetable milk and even cocktails.
7) To dress salads
When mixed with other ingredients such as mustard, rice or wine vinegar, olive or sesame oil, lemon juice, ginger and soy sauce, it can give rise to tasty sauces to dress all kinds of salads, from a salad made with boiled potatoes to a spinach salad with walnuts and goat cheese.
8) To season grilled or baked vegetables
Also in this case the syrup can be combined with the most varied condiments, such as mustard, vinegar, oil, thyme and other aromatic herbs, spices such as black pepper, curry, smoked paprika, ginger and cumin. The chosen sauce can be poured on the vegetables after cooking, so as to flavor and glaze them. The dish can be served with an enrichment of dried fruit (eg pecans) or seeds (perfect and black and white sesame) and a crumbled feta or goat cheese. Among the vegetables that best match the maple syrup glaze there are pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips and Brussels sprouts.
9) For glazing second courses, meat, fish and vegetables
The same glazing process can also be applied to meat and fish main courses. Particularly suitable for chicken, bacon and salmon, maple syrup can represent the sweet note of accompanying sauces of all kinds, more or less bitter, sweet or spicy. In this case, in addition to the condiments we have already seen, you can also consider garlic flakes, chilli and orange or lemon juice. For lovers of vegetable main courses, for example based on tofu, seitan and tempeh, the icing at the end of cooking is not the only possible use of the syrup. The chosen sauce can in fact also be used for marinating or to be combined with batter with the addition of corn starch or flour. A small final note: in some Asian cuisines, and in particular Indonesian and Thai, tofu and noodles are enriched with a delicious sauce based on maple syrup, peanut butter, tamari, a pinch of red pepper, garlic and lemon juice.
10) To pour over hot popcorn
We conclude with one truly original snack, perfect for a home evening in front of the TV. If you love sweet popcorn, but are looking for a less caloric alternative to caramel, maple syrup can be for you.
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