I am beginning a new once-a-week post with thoughts about different aspects of cooking, ingredients, methods, or really anything I’ve put thought into and think you all might like to know about. If you have any special requests for topics, please comment and let me know! Here’s the first!
Our family seems to go through maple syrup at an alarming rate. It’s probably because I use it in our granola and granola bar recipes, but we also use it on pancakes and to lightly sweeten and add flavor to plain yogurt (which, by the way, we sometimes make at home in the crock pot). I know you can also use it as a substitute for refined sugar in lots of recipes, but I haven’t quite tried that yet.
I really enjoy the complex flavor of maple syrup, and even though it is extremely sweet, it has some wonderful vitamins and other nutrients in it as well. My first memorable encounter with maple syrup was actually with a “lemonade diet” cleanse about six years ago (for the record, I am not suggesting this type of cleanse to anyone). After drinking maple-lemon water for three or four days, I was sure I would never want to taste maple syrup again! Several years and lots of wonderful granola and pancakes later, I am happy to enjoy it again.
If you’ve ever shopped for maple syrup you probably know it is not cheap. I’ve found that, at least in the Portland area, the least expensive place to buy it is Costco, where it’s about $12.50 for a quart of Grade A. The next cheapest place, as far as I can tell, is Trader Joe’s, which is $17 or $16 for a quart of Grade A and Grade B, respectively (if I am remembering correctly). I actually would prefer to be buying Grade B because I like the deeper and more complex flavor and its better nutrient profile, but the $3.50 cost difference is a big deal to us at the moment.
What do you think? How do you use maple syrup, and where do you find it for a reasonable price?