Inspired by the Condiment Awareness Monday Mission, I’d like to help you utilize a healthy, real-food condiment more frugally: Real Maple Syrup. (Not a super food like honey, but better than white sugar nonetheless…)
How to stretch your real maple syrup
1. Cut it with “homemade” maple syrup
The real foodies among you will gasp that I mix white sugar into my maple syrup…but we went through a quart so quickly this winter that I thought I had to do something or we’d go broke! I’d like from-scratch pancakes to be a less expensive option for breakfast, but when you’re using real maple syrup, sometimes there’s a fine line.
The directions on my box of maple flavoring (Mapleine) said to use 2 c. sugar, 1 c. boiling water and 1/2 tsp maple flavor. I believe I tried 1 c. sugar and had fine results. I mixed the maple-flavored sugar water with an equal amount of real maple syrup and it was very tasty.
If your family is just switching from store maple syrup (i.e. corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, water and preservatives), you may want to start with the full amount of sugar, or 1 1/2 cups, and see what your family can appreciate. Always pat yourself on the back for a baby step! Cutting out the HFCS and getting half real maple syrup and half sugar is a great move toward nutrition and away from toxic chemicals.
2. You can also cut maple syrup with honey (and a bit of water to thin it out). Raw honey has many wonderful health benefits (see this post for info), and it’s often about half the price of real maple syrup with all the sweetness.
3. Pour your real maple syrup in shot glasses for dipping, especially good for folks who would put on too much. (Nothing makes the family budgeteer cry more than plates full of leftover real maple syrup going into the sink after a big pancake breakfast!) Try the dipping method, and then figure out if this is better for your family or just using self control on the pouring and allowing a little bit to be “enough”. (Sometimes you end up with more on the dip than you might pour on in the first place.)
4. Try this recipe with fruit that our children’s librarian sent me, substituting other fruits depending on what you have on hand:
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cups frozen unsweetened raspberries
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat over medium heat until berries are juicy. Blend (optional) if you want a thin syrup instead of fruity chunks. Serve warm over pancakes or waffles.
I would probably add a lot more cinnamon, because (a) I love it and (b) I know it helps keep me healthy. It lasts at least a few days in the fridge, enough for leftover pancakes and stirring into plain homemade yogurt.
5. Speaking of cinnamon, dusting your pancakes or french toast with cinnamon can add such flavor and a guise of sweetness (try Ceylon cinnamon for an even sweeter experience with more health benefits!) that you may find you don’t need as much syrup to have a pleasant breakfast experience. Food Renegade’s blender pancakes include cinnamon right in the mix – heavenly!
A new idea!
Check out my new “perfect maple syrup bottle” for the very best way I’ve found to use 100% real maple syrup and not waste a drop, for kids or adults!
More tips and baby step ideas every week!
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