What is Agave?
The ancient Aztecs prized Agave as a gift from the gods
What is agave syrup?
While Agave (pronounced ah-GAH-vay) is most associated as the plant from which the popular alcohol tequila is made, it has also been used for millennium as a sweetening ingredient in food.
The ancient Aztecs prized Agave as a gift from the gods and used the liquid from the plants core to flavour foods and drinks. Nowadays, due to increasing awareness of Agave Syrup’s beneficial properties, it is becoming a preferred sweetener for many health conscious consumers, doctors, and natural foods cooks alike.
In Mexico the nectar made from Agave is known as aguamiel, or “honey water.”
Ten Facts about Agave Syrup
- Agave Syrup is produced from Agave plants grown in Mexico. There are several processing methods used to obtain the syrupy sweetener – it’s not as simple as just tapping into the plant like you would with maple syrup for example.
- Agave Syrup is composed mostly of fructose, with some glucose.
- Agave Syrup measures a lower glycemic index than regular table sugar because glycemic index measures only glucose levels, and Agave Syrup has less glucose than sugar.
- Agave Syrup has an equal number of calories as sugar – 4 calories per gram, which translates to 16 calories per teaspoon.
- Agave Syrup is about one and a half times sweeter than regular sugar, meaning one needs less to reach the same sweet spot – working out to slightly less calories for the same level of sweetness.
- Agave Syrup is used to make jams, syrups, cakes, beverages, sweets, ice cream and yogurt, to name a few. It is also a very effective sweetener for cold beverages such as iced tea because, unlike sugar and honey, it dissolves easily in cold liquids. With its fluid consistency, it is ideally incorporated into applesauce or cottage cheese.
- Vegans often prefer to use Agave Syrup in recipes as an alternative to honey as no animals are involved in its processing.
- Agave Syrup dissolves quickly in water and is an excellent sweetener for drinks.
- Tequila is a cousin of Agave Syrup. Blue Agave (Agave Tequilana) is the source for both, although Agave Syrup can also be made from other types of Agave plants.
- In folk medicine, Agave Syrup can be used against skin diseases; mixed with a little salt, it is believed to have an antibacterial action and prevent infection in wounds.