Well, we are going to go with Marvelous Magnificent Maple because Maple Syrup is certainly marvelous, absolutely magnificent (to eat!) and maple season does just have a touch of madness because everyone goes nuts around maple sugaring season! Did you know that New York is the second-largest producer of maple syrup in the United States and, in 2018, New York hit a record with a production of 806,000 gallons of maple syrup, the first in 74 years?
Why are we crazy about Maple Syrup? Because our Bed and Breakfast members serve the real thing, none of this fake stuff in our inns and B&Bs! There was a recent article in Eater Magazine talking about having to smuggle in maple syrup to a restaurant, check it out here for a fun read “The Move: Sneak your own maple syrup into brunch” be warned it has a few NSFW (not safe for work) comments in it, but the tone is quite amusing and the line “If the real stuff is not an option, then surely a restaurant can’t fault you for deploying your own syrup in what is clearly an emergency.” gave us quite a chuckle! You don’t have to worry about smuggling in your own personal maple syrup stash when you come to stay at our member properties! Our innkeepers are prepared for that emergency!
Most people think that drizzling that liquid gold onto delicious pancakes or crispy waffles is the extent of what one would use maple syrup for, but in reality, it’s a very versatile cooking ingredient.
You can make cocktails from them for instance, some great ideas from Food and Wine: 7 Maple Syrup Cocktails for Fall Drinking, Brit+Co: Move Over, Pancakes: These 12 Maple Cocktails Require ALL the Syrup and Eater: 27 Maple Cocktails to Drink This Fall. We feel that you can drink a maple syrup cocktail at any time of the year though, not just fall.
If a drink of the alcoholic variety is not your cup of tea, maple syrup added to coffee, iced or hot, is always a great alternative to sugar or other sweeteners, maple added to tea or hot or cold cocoa is a lovely addition. There are also some great non-alcoholic and refreshing maple shrubs if you are looking for an alternative for a hot summer day.
Cooking with maple syrup is a world that most don’t really think about as well. Maple syrup can be substituted in many recipes calling for honey, agave or other liquid sugars or sweeteners. It pairs well in marinades with hot, sweet or sour ingredients and is a great addition to balancing out a sauce that is just a little too sour or tart and needs just a touch of sweetness to give it that perfect flavor, the one that is “this is good, I don’t want to just taste it, I don’t want to drizzle it over my steak (or fish), I just want to drink it by the spoonful.”
I love to infuse maple syrup with various flavors and then use that infused syrup for pouring directly on mouth-watering crepes (or pancakes or waffles) or to add an extra dimension to a sauce, dressing or marinade.
Infusing is quite easy, bring maple syrup up to a simmer (Grade B is preferred for infusing as it has a more earthy and deeper flavor) add your ingredients and let simmer for about 10 minutes, let cool and strain, then refrigerate. Infused syrups generally last for several weeks in the refrigerator, more depending on the added ingredients.
Some unusual ingredients you may not think of infusing maple syrup with but are a wonderful addition to marinades and homemade salad dressings:
- Garlic, roasted garlic or black garlic (fermented)
- Jalapenos or other hot peppers
- Rosemary, sage or thyme
- Fresh ginger
- Citrus, if you add the peel to the infusion process it will lend a slight bitterness to the mix, for some recipes that is a good thing!
- Smoked Paprika
- Peanut Butter
- Black Pepper
Use your imagination and dig around in your spice cabinet for a little inspiration. Cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg are nice additions if you don’t want to get too adventurous, but maple syrup pairs well with just about everything!
My favorite maple recipe is a nice maple balsamic dressing that goes well on pretty much everything, hot or cold and can be used for a marinade as well.
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tble fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 Tble fresh chopped garlic
- 2 cups pure or EX Olive oil
- Fresh cracked black pepper and kosher salt to taste.
Mix maple syrup, balsamic, garlic and rosemary together, slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify it, season with salt and pepper, Enjoy!
There are some great resources on checking out some of the local current and upcoming weekends from the Upper Hudson Maple Producers Association, NY Maple Weekend, and Hudson Valley Parent to help plan your weekends while coming to visit the Valley. Don’t forget to check out our member inns when you come to stay and get the REAL maple syrup deal, no personal maple syrup stashes needed!