Stick with me: March is for maple syrup!
Maple syrup...for dinner? There's more than one way to enjoy the sweet taste of springtime, and it might just get your kids interested in trying a whole bunch of new flavours. Shake up your dinner rotation and get your kids involved in a uniquely Canadian taste-test using recipes from our community.
Sure, the cherry blossom season in Vancouver is almost over, but in the rest of the province—and the country—sugaring off season is running high (along with the sap!). It’s the perfect time of year to learn about this deliciously Canadian sweet, and to enjoy a recipe or three with this year’s crop.
You can get maple syrup made in Eastern Canada at your local grocery store, but if you’re looking for something a whole lot more local, good news: BC maple syrup is also available made from the Bigleaf maple trees growing on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland. Right now you can visit and get local BC syrup from small farms in Burnaby, and the Hupač̓asatḥ First Nation in Port Alberni; and you can get birch syrup from farms up in the Cariboo.
What can you do with maple syrup once you’ve gotten your hands on some? While you might think of it as a topper for waffles or pancakes, maple syrup’s a sweet note that makes savoury flavours sing in all sorts of mains. Get your kids to tie on their aprons for a little taste test: give them a taste of maple syrup, and then invite them to help you make the sauces for a main dish like Cedar Planked Salmon; Pork Tenderloin Saltimboca; Orange, Beets and Fennel Salad or 5 Spice Maple Roasted Squash with Edamame and Warm Soba Noodles. Ask them if their senses are sharp enough to find that maple flavour in the finished dish, and whether any other flavours are helped by it. Of course, there are plenty of sweet dishes that feature maple syrup as well: try Sweet and Salty Granola Bars, Chocolate Snack Time Squares or Good For You Crumble (gluten, nut and dairy free).
If you’re lucky enough to be in a region of BC that still has some snow, your kids will be fascinated by snow candy—it’s made by pouring boiling maple syrup on a bed of clean snow. The snow instantly cools the syrup to the consistency of taffy, so that your little ones can roll it up on a popsicle stick and enjoy.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy maple syrup? Let us know here or share with our online communities on Facebook and Instagram, where we’re sharing more recipes for spring.