- What is Agave Nectar?
Agave is best recognized as the plant from which tequila is made.
The liquid from it’s core, has been used for thousand of years as an ingredient to flavor food and drinks by the Aztecs, who also prized it as a gift from the gods. The nectar made from the plant is known in Mexico as “aguamiel".
Now, due to increasing awareness of agave nectar’s many beneficial properties, it is becoming the preferred sweetener of health conscious consumers, doctors and natural foods cooks alike.
- Where does Agave Nectar come from?
Agave nectar (sometimes called agave syrup) is most often produced from the Blue Agaves that thrive in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. They are large and spiky plants, similar to the familiar Aloe Vera.
Due to the Blue Agave's high carbohydrate content (which results in a high percentage of fructose in the final nectar), is the preferred species for producing premium nectar.
- How is Agave Nectar made?
When the agave has grown to 7-10 years old, the leaves of the plant are cut off, revealing the core of the plant called the "pina".
Sap is extracted from the pina, filtered, and heated at a low temperature, which breaks down the carbohydrates into sugars. Lighter and darker varieties of agave nectar are made from the same plants. Because of the low temperatures used in processing many varieties (under 118°F) raw foods enthusiasts generally regard agave nectar as a raw food.
- What does Agave Nectar taste like?
The taste of agave nectar is comparable, though not identical, to honey. Many people who do not like the taste of honey find agave a more palatable choice. It also has none of the bitter aftertaste associated with artificial sweeteners.
There are two main types of agave nectar: light and dark.
The lighter syrups undergo less heating and a more thorough filtration to produce a more mildly flavored product that is neutral enough to be used in many culinary applications. The darker syrups are filtered less, and the solids left in the syrup make for stronger nectar with a flavor sometimes compared to maple syrup.
- Agave Health Benefits:
- Is a healthy sugar alternative because it has a low glycemic index and you don't need to use as much to achieve the sweet flavor you're looking for.
- It has antibacterial properties; it is excellent to treat wounds.
- Effective in weight loss.
- It has the ability to increase satiety and decrease appetite.
- Increases the absorption of nutrients.