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Sugaring Off: Sticky Stuff to Do with Maple Syrup

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Because sappiness rhymes with happiness.

Taffy on snow. There’s something truly sappy about candied maple syrup rolled onto sticks. All you need is clean snow (ice will suffice if the snow’s gone) and real maple syrup to impress any kid – or the kid in any adult. This is all about simple, old-fashioned fun.

There are lots of recipes on-line, but this is essentially the process:

  • Fill a large container with snow (or use the clean snow that’s still in your backyard).
  • Boil the syrup (the amount depends on the number of people and their sugar tolerance) in a saucepan for about ten minutes. When it reaches 115 degrees C (238 degrees F) on a candy thermometer, it’s done.
  • Test it on the snow to check for consistency; continue cooking if it’s too soft. If it’s too hard, add water.
  • Finally, pour the boiling syrup over the snow and use wooden popsicle sticks to roll the taffy. Take pictures!

Get the barbecue out! O’Hara Sugar Maples , located north of Madoc, not only make syrup, but they also market their own Maple Barbecue Sauce, which you can find at 75 Foodland stores across Ontario, as well as local butcher shops and Kelly’s Flowers & Gifts in Madoc.

They use all local ingredients (garlic, apples, syrup) and the stuff is quite simply, addictive. Use it to barbecue or as a dipping sauce. Heather Needham, co-owner, says people call it “crack in a bottle”.

Maple Popcorn. It’s not just kids who will love this.

  • Combine maple syrup and butter and heat until the mixture reaches 150 degrees C (300 F). Then, pour it over plain, popped popcorn and stir with a spatula until all the popcorn is coated. There are lots of recipes online –  Maple Popcorn is a well-tested one. Anticipate sticky fingers!

Host your own epic, pancake brunch. Quintessential sappiness.

It’s that simple. Get out the griddle and impress your family with pancakes smothered in maple syrup. They will love you!

Make your own Maple Fudge. It’s super easy.

  • Combine 2 cups maple syrup, I cup 35% cream and 2 ½ tbsp butter and heat the mixture until it reaches 114 degrees C (239 F) Whisk vigorously and as soon as it thickens, pour it into a parchment-lined mould. Chill and cut into squares.

Use it in both sweet and savoury recipes. The options are endless. Foodies know that there are hundreds of ways to use maple syrup in everyday cooking.

Considering that it’s loaded with manganese, riboflavin, calcium, thiamin, potassium, and copper, it just makes sense to incorporate it in classic dishes such as baked beans or maple-glazed ham or salmon. Encourage the kids to eat their veggies – try maple glazed Brussels sprouts or carrots. Add it to your morning coffee or tea, or your evening nightcap.

Check out other amazing things you can do with maple at Maple from Canada.

Traditionally, maple syrup producers in Hastings County host pancake brunches and sugar bush tours. Last year, these were cancelled due to COVID-19, and this year, the forecast looks equally bleak.

You can still visit local sugar bushes to purchase their products – just call ahead first. Hastings County is Pretty Sweet: Just Check out its Sugar Bushes has a complete list of local producers.

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