But is that the whole story? This is where our friend — our local, organic, seasonal, natural — friend, maple syrup, introduces a wonderful shake-up to the Western mind. Because although it qualifies as a simple sugar, maple syrup contains a magical twist. It has other nutrients, like minerals: calcium (more than milk, by volume), potassium (more than bananas, by weight), manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron. And let’s not forget the vitamins: B1, B2, B5, B6, biotin, and folic acid. Bear with me: This is more than just a list of ingredients your grandmother would smile at — these nutrients provide a balancing mechanism that makes maple syrup much healthier than other forms of simple sugar. Cane sugar — processed and stripped of its healthy molasses — actually pulls minerals and other nutrients from your body in order to be metabolized, whereas maple syrup does not. Nature’s too smart for that.
It will be a shame if global warming messes with our maples. Not just because our pancakes would go bare, but because maple syrup — sweet, sticky, glossy maple syrup — seems to keep us sweet, yet balanced — pulling whole families out of the house to celebrate one another and the miracles of spring. And as Holly Sheehan noted this weekend, maple syrup seems to stick us all together: “We ran into a lot of people we knew — it’s definitely a community event.”
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