Maple Syrup is a fall staple in Canada. It pairs well with things like yam, pumpkin, and all those rustic fall goodies we look forward to at the end of the harvest, it is enjoyed on pancakes at any time of the year. Maple Syrup even makes a resurgence in Canadian kitchens at Christmas time where it is, pretty much in a home kitchen considered interchangeable with Carmel. Not to rock your world here, but Maple Syrup is actually harvested in the spring! If you are cooking seasonally try incorporating maple syrup into salads, and spring vegetable glazes. Light and savory uses give the syrup a chance to bring a perfect hint of sweetness to accompany spring dishes, as opposed maple syrup maple syrup’s heavy handed and sugary fall and winter applications. You may then see this Canadian ingredient in a whole new light.
Manitoba’s only “Sugar Shack” or “cabane à sucre” (the Canadian term for locations that produce Maple Syrup and elsewhere generally referred to as a “sap house”) is located in Saint-Pierre-Jolys and is an important part of the tourism development of the community. If you want to visit Manitoba’s only designated Sugar Shack you can do so at the St-Pierre-Jolys museum. Be sure to check hours before embarking on your road trip.
Also becoming increasingly popular is birch syrup. Local to Manitoba and with a wildly different flavor birch syrup comes in different varieties and has strong undertones of cherry. It pairs well with chocolate, and makes an excellent glaze for salmon (I enjoy it on my bacon personally). This Syrup is more delicate than maple and you have to be careful not to burn it in the cooking process. In Manitoba birch syrup is harvested in Lake Winnipeg’s south basin. To learn more about Manitoba birch syrup production visit the Great Canadian Birch Company.
Spruce tip syrup is also harvested and made in the spring. Popular in the Yukon and Alaska, it has strong pine overtones with sharp citrus undertones, and works well to enhance citrus glazes and desserts.
Looking to play around with these seasonal locally produced syrups in the kitchen? Visit the John and Bonnie Buhler Library and check out The Boreal Gourmet. This book not only carries instructions for the use of these three syrups, but also resources for retailers that carry them.
“Bring me moose meat! You will not be sorry!” So says Whitehorse author and cook Michele Genest to the hunters in her circle. Wild is wonderful when it comes to Genest’s creative treatments for northern viands, with exciting ideas such as moose cooked in Yukon-brewed espresso stout and finished with chocolate, lime and cilantro, Arctic char marinated in grappa and then hot-smoked, or roasted spruce grouse draped in a sour cream and Madeira sauce. As much culinary adventure story as cookbook, The Boreal Gourmet combines a portrait of northern life with an exploration of wild or “country” foods in gourmet recipes for the home cook. These recipes are inspired by a diversity of countries, traditions and kitchens, and spring from a love affair with the indigenous foods that flourish in the boreal forests and river valleys of the Yukon… –Google books.
(The Library would like to thank Ebony Novakowski for her recent contributions to our blog)