Tapping Into the Marvels of Maple Syrup

Pancakes with fresh berry

Despite the fact that it was imported from far away Vermont and Canada, maple syrup was one of those things we always had on hand in the Philippines when I was growing up. My mother would give it to us with pancakes and use it as a glaze for her famous fruitcake.

Maple syrup is the concentrated sap from sugar maple trees that grow only in New England and Eastern Canada. It’s collected, usually starting in March, when the nights are still near freezing but the days are starting to warm. The sugar in maple syrup is considered unrefined and contains small but significant nutrients that contribute to good health. After all, the sap of a maple tree contains minerals and antioxidants that nourish the tree and keep it healthy, and so it does for us. Just like there are refined and unrefined grain-based items, maple syrup is an unrefined form of sugar just like honey. In fact, maple syrup has a glycemic index of 54 and is considered a low glycemic food, which means it affects blood sugar less than white, refined sugar (GI 58) and honey (GI 87), according to the International Maple Syrup Institute.

maple syrup in glass bottle on wooden tableIn a quarter cup of maple syrup, there are:

  • 217 calories vs. 220 for the same amount of high fructose corn syrup and 261 for honey
  • 100% of the daily value (DV) for manganese, which helps the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood clotting and brain function
  • 37% DV for riboflavin, a B vitamin that helps convert food into fuel
  • 18% of DV for zinc, which helps boost the immune system.

Maple syrup also has an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) per 100 gm of 600, which makes it higher in antioxidants than nutritional superstars cabbage (508), tomatoes (337) and cantaloupe (315), and just under carrots (666).

Honey trickle dropping of a spoon

As for using maple syrup, think beyond pancakes and French toast. You can swap the honey for maple syrup in my Honey-Lime Dressing recipe, which appears in my first cookbook, The Age GRACEFULLY Cookbook. It’s great with greens or as a marinade.

Put maple syrup in oatmeal, sweeten coffee and tea or try one of these delicious recipes from the Coombs Family Farms. They have been in the maple syrup business since the 1840s and producing organic syrup since 1988. I’ve met some of their staff a couple of times at the Natural Products Expo-West.

Maple Meatball Hors d’oeuvre

Maple Meat Balls


2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
Bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups chili sauce
1/2 cup Coombs Family Farms organic maple syrup


Combine beef, onion, eggs, salt in a bowl. Mix well and add enough bread crumbs to bind mixture. Shape in small balls. Brown in skillet. Pour rest of ingredients over meat, gently mix together and simmer for 25 minutes. Serve with wooden picks.

Note: You can add more age-fighting FoodTrients to this recipe by adding 1 Tbs. of parsley and 1 Tbs. of garlic.

Maple Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Maple BBQ Sauce

This sauce is sweet and smoky, which makes it perfect for chicken, ribs or tri-tip.

Makes about one cup


3 large chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
1/4 cup Coombs Family Farms organic maple syrup
1 cup organic chicken broth
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1 Tbs. onion, minced
2 large cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice


In a blender combine first 5 ingredients.
Heat oil until hot but not smoking in medium saucepan, over moderately high heat; add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes until golden.
Add chipotle puree, season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat until thickened, about 15 minutes.
Stir in lemon juice and allow to cool.

Chocolate Devastation Cake

Chocolate Devastation Cake

This chocolate cake may not devastate you, but it will enrich your life with its decadence, and it may well become a stand-by for parties, friends’ birthdays, and those cold winter days when chocolate cake and a cup of tea (or beer or wine) is what you are craving.

Dry Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

1-1/2 cup Coombs Family Farms organic maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 lb. soft tofu
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. raspberry vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Mix wet ingredients in a blender until no lumps of tofu remain. Pour wet ingredients into dry bowl. Fold together, do not over mix. Pour batter into lightly oiled and floured 9-inch spring form cake tin. Bake for 40 minutes or more if needed, checking with a toothpick to ensure it is cooked throughout.  Allow to cool before icing.


About Grace O

GRACE O is the creator of FoodTrients®, a unique program for optimizing wellness and longevity. She is the author of two award-winning cookbooks – The Age Gracefully Cookbook and The Age Beautifully Cookbook, which recently won the National award for Innovation from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She is a fusion chef with a mission to deliver delicious recipes built on a foundation of anti-aging science and her 20 years in the healthcare industry. Visit FoodTrients.com to learn more. Email us at info@foodtrients.com
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.