The scoop on Agave nectar

By: Health Local Staff Feb 01, 2012
agave nectar

Learn more about this natural sweetener that is quickly gaining popularity.

With people making an attempt to eat healthy, many of us are substituting our sweeteners with more natural options. There are various substitutes on the market, yet one seems to have become a favourite in a very short period of time. Although many people have heard of Agave nectar, not so many can actually say that they really know what it is.

What is Agave nectar?
Agave is a plant that grows in Southern Mexico and South Africa in more than a hundred species. It grows in multiple sizes and hues. Growing large and with spikes, they are similar in appearance to the cactus plant. Agave nectar is the liquid that is taken from the core of the plant, called the pina, after it has aged between 7 and 10 years. The extracted sap is filtered and heated to convert its carbs into sugar. There is also a process of heating the extracted fluids with mold to pull out the fructose.

The juice of the plant is heated until it’s the same consistency as syrup and is slightly thinner than honey. The color of the syrup depends on the amount of time that it’s actually processed. It can range from light brown to a dark shade of amber. Agave nectar primarily consists of fructose and glucose.

Why is Agave nectar popular?
One of the reasons Agave nectar has become so popular is because by nature is nearly 1½ times sweeter than sugar. It can easily replace sugar or honey in any recipe or beverage. Agave nectar also varies in taste depending on its color and rawness; from one source, there are many options.  The nectar is processed in a fashion that retains most of its enzymes.

 Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that offers natural sweetness and none of the bad things that sugar does. For many, it is a healthier dietary choice because they don’t have to worry about unwanted calories and lower the risk of the health issues related to sugar.

How do you use Agave Nectar?
Agave nectar is used in various ways, simply because it’s a sweetener. It takes the place of sugar or honey in nearly any recipe and Agave nectar can be used in cold beverages in place of sugar. The natural sweetener is also often used as a binding agent in some breakfast cereals. Since the flavor of Agave nectar is close to caramel, it’s used as a topping for breakfast dishes like pancakes and French toast. Many use it on desserts, various meats and seafood dishes.

As you can see, Agave nectar is a wonderful alternative to sugar. Since it is a bit sweeter than sugar, many can’t even tell the difference in the taste of their food and beverages when they make the switch.

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