The Skinny on Agave Syrup
When most people think of agave, they think of the distinctive flavor which lends itself to tequila. While agave is what gives tequila its signature taste, the agave plant has other byproducts with excellent culinary uses. The nectar of the agave plant is used as a sweetener, lending to the usefulness of the agave plant. Agave nectar is 1.5 times sweeter than regular granular sugar, and because it is typically found in liquid form it is often an excellent choice for sweetening beverages or other liquids. The best part about agave nectar is that it is all natural and considered a healthier option than sugar as a sweetener.
Why Is Agave Nectar Healthier Than Sugar Or Honey?
Agave nectar is all natural. It comes mainly from the blue agave plant, which grows most abundantly in Southern Mexico. It is harvested from plants which are between the ages of 7 and 14 years old, and in its most pure form it flows freely and easily. Many doctors, health experts, and cooks prefer to use agave nectar instead of honey or sugar because it not only mixes more easily with foods and beverages, but less is required in order to achieve the desired sweetness of a particular culinary delight.
Agave nectar is also an excellent substitute to honey. While honey is often used by people as a natural sweetener, it can contain bacteria and toxins. This is why honey is considered unsafe for young children or people with compromised immune systems. Agave nectar, on the other hand, is perfectly safe to be consumed by younger children. Many vegans also prefer agave nectar as a sweetener because it is completely plant based in its origin.
How Do You Use Agave Nectar?
Your imagination is the limit for how to use this versatile sweetener. The sweet juice of the agave plant is often used straight out of the bottle as a topping for pancakes in lieu of syrup. Dark nectars often have a more rich taste with a hint of the signature tequila flavor, making it an excellent choice to flavor virgin margaritas. Lighter hued agave nectar can be used in more delicate dishes to flavor seafood, sauces, or stews. Agave nectar can be substituted for some of the sugar or honey in baking, or can be spread on toasted bread for a sweet morning treat. A few drops added to an ice cold glass of water can provide a refreshing summer beverage, or even frozen into ice cubes for an interesting addition to a cocktail or soda
Is Agave Nectar Expensive?
It can be pricier than sugar or honey because of the length of time the agave plants take to mature. Certain varieties of agave nectar are more expensive than others, depending on the richness or the color of the nectar. A good option for purchasing agave nectar, particularly if you use it frequently, is to buy it wholesale in bulk. The shelf life for agave nectar is rather long, so purchasing large quantities at one time will help save money in the long run.
Agave nectar is referred to as honey water in parts of Mexico where it is harvested. Because of the delicate flavor and the ease of mixing, it is an excellent sweetener, and considered a wonderful substitute for honey or sugar. With hundreds of uses for the sweet liquid, it can be a great replacement for sugar to maintain a healthy and natural diet.