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Beyond Pancakes

Mrs. Butterworth’s maple syrup may be the cheapest, but its artificial flavor cannot compare to homemade Wisconsin maple syrup, with its rich texture and distinct flavor. Genuine maple syrup, from the sap of maple trees, is harvested in the late winter and early spring.

The natural sweetness in authentic maple syrup makes a great addition to a variety of savory and sweet dishes. Janice Thomas, co-owner of Savory Spoon Cooking School and Artisanal Cheese Shop, hosted a workshop on the many uses of maple syrup last fall.

“Linda Lorenz has been making maple syrup up here for about 10 years, and they invited me to make it with them over last winter. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup,” Thomas said. “That’s why genuine maple syrup is more expensive.”

The opportunities for using maple syrup are limitless: in cocktails, stews, a salad vinaigrette, drizzled on a main course, or infused into a dessert.

“We made maple-mustard pork tenderloin, maple syrup and parsnip soup, ice cream with maple syrup, garden greens with Door County maple syrup vinaigrette. Most people think of it in a dessert, but it just enhances so many things,” said Thomas. “It’s a very enriching flavor.”

Maple syrup and apples are a natural pair. You can use water and maple syrup to poach fruit, Thomas suggested, and then boil down the liquid that’s left to make a reduction. Use the reduction to drizzle on meat, or a dessert.

“Use it as a basting tool on salmon with a little ginger and garlic. It’s a match made in heaven with a good pork chop,” said Thomas. “You can make maple syrup crème brûlée, maple-glazed carrots…you could make a cheesecake with it and drizzle it on top. It’s a very accommodating flavor.”

For more information on maple syrup, visit the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association online at http://www.wismaple.org. The website has recipes, information, and advice for using maple syrup. You can also submit recipes and they have competitions from time to time.