Maple syrup magic

The sugar shack: Maple goodness is best in small packages! Story source: click my photo

If you really need to have a sweetener, choose maple syrup. It’s good! And now there is some proof that it might also be good for you.

Yes, spoon for spoon it has about the same number of calories and carbs as garden variety white sugar has. But maple syrup comes from the heart of  trees. It flows in the spring, from roots to branches, to renew sleeping buds. Native Americans drank the first sap as a spring tonic. And recently, a scientist named Navindra Seeram conducted a “commendable analysis of the chemical constituents of maple syrup and discovered some interesting, previously undetected compounds in the process, ” according to a well-known commentator on science issues, Joe Schwarz. These compounds are disease fighters called phenolics.

But Schwarz has been one of  Seeram’s worst critics. To suggest that maple syrup is healthy, he says, because it contains some phenolics is rumpled thinking. Phenolics  are abundant in fruits and vegetables, he adds. He also worries that people hearing about “healthy compounds” in maple syrup could let their appetites for the sweet treat run wild.

“We’re not saying you should eat this to get phenolics,”  Seeram emphasized. “We’re saying that if you’re choosing to eat this sweetener, it has these phenolics which are present in other healthy plant foods.”

If kids want sweetener on their pancakes, though, it might be worth the extra cost to splurge on maple syrup.

For more maple syrup magic, try this recipe for maple candy. Maybe you should cut the recipe in half, though.  A pound of candy seems like an awful lot, and a little of this stuff takes you a long way. Share with friends, while you’re at it… sweet!

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