Organic Maple Sugar
Known for their beautiful foliage in the autumn, maple trees give us some of our favorite sweets. Maple syrup and maple sugar both come from the sap of the maple tree, or Acer, and are used in everything from savory to sugary foods. Maple sugar is an ingredient used most frequently in baking, but you will find that it can be used in ham glazes or stir fry sauces just as well.
Maple sugar is an intensely flavored unrefined sugar perfect for bakers who are trying to steer away from refined white sugar but don't want to use liquid replacements like honey or agave nectar. It has a pale light brown color to it that gives a little bit of color to otherwise colorless recipes, and a delicious maple flavor to delight all the maple lovers in your life.
Maple trees have been part of the North American landscape for centuries, even before written history. In the United States today, there are four states that claim the maple as their state tree, and the leaf from a maple tree is one of the most recognizable parts of the Canadian flag. Native Americans were the first people to make maple sugar from the sap of the maple tree, and the colony settler John Smith was one of the first people to describe the Native American's sugar-making process in his journals. He was also fascinated with how the inner tree bark was used by Native Americans to make cough medicine. In 1663, descriptions of these "new world trees" was given to Europeans by a chemist by the name of Robert Boyle.
While there are various legends surrounding the initial discovery of maple syrup, no one is quite sure who found it first or what made them eat it. Such is the case with many things we consume regularly today. Beginning in the 17th century, dairy farmers would use the sap from maple trees to make maple syrup and maple sugar during peak harvesting season just at the end of winter and the beginning of spring to supplement their income. These farmers would set up a tap in the tree and empty their buckets every day or so. Then they would transport their sap to a sugar house, usually a shed or other closed off structure built in the woods, where the maple sap would be made into syrup. It takes roughly 40 gallons of sap to produce a single gallon of syrup, mostly because sap is almost 98% water. They would boil the sap over a wood fire, with some producers continuing to boil the sap until it was no longer syrup, but a crystallized sugar called maple sugar. Today the process has become much more industrialized, though it can still be boiled down to collecting sap and heating it until it's been reduced to the desired form.
Our Organic Maple Sugar is made from the sap harvested in the native maple forests all over the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada. The sap is reduced to syrup through evaporation, and then made into sugar through more heating and evaporating. A maple tree takes about 40 years from being a seedling to become productive in producing sap. After it has reached its productive years, the tree can be tapped and give sap for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Our Organic Maple Sugar is from the USA and Canada.
Maple sugar is a staple in a variety of dishes, particularly desserts. Maple sugar is a fantastic replacement for white sugar in chocolate chip cookie recipes because it is deeply sweet and has a nice, light brown color that helps enhance the color of the cookie.
You can use this sugar in the caramelization process for vegetables that are nearing the end of their lifespan. Onions for example can be revitalized with a bit of maple sugar. If you find a sad little onion hanging out on your counter and you aren't sure what to do with it, caramelization is the easy answer. Peel and chop the onion, roughly is fine, and then throw into a pan with a glug of olive oil. Set the pan over medium low heat and dust the onion with maple sugar. This will give the onion a distinct, complex sweetness to it that compliments a seared steak quite nicely. This recipe is perfect for summertime when grilled meats and their charred, smoky flavor rise up in popularity again and need something sweet to compliment them. Caramelized onions, carrots, or even beets taste excellent with a good piece of grilled meat.
Use it on bacon for a salty sweet juxtaposition that will surprise you in a good way. Similarly, try it on freshly made buttery popcorn. It's delicious in homemade barbecue sauces, as a final touch on a rack of ribs. Throw a sprinkle on some plain puffed rice cereal for a sweet start to your morning. It's especially nice on overnight oats, particularly if they were made with a plain yogurt!
Organic Maple Sugar tastes sugary, with a distinct maple sweetness to it
You can replace white sugar with Organic Maple Sugar in a one to one ratio for pretty much any recipe, but if color is a factor of your recipe you may find that even the light brown of this sugar disrupts the color of your cooking. There is also the intense maple flavor to consider. On the other hand, if you are using light brown sugar in your recipe, you can easily replace that sugar with this one with little to no concern about the color. The ratio for this replacement is also one to one- one part Organic Maple Sugar in place of every one part of light brown sugar. Keep in mind however that brown sugar is often moist because of its molasses content. If you need that moistness for your recipe, add a tiny bit of maple syrup to the maple sugar before you use it.