Agave nectar is obtained from different varieties of the succulent family of plants (aloe vera is also a member of this family). The most popular variety is the same plant used to make tequila, the Blue Agave or agave tequilana. Agave is a mixture of fructose (sugar found in fruits and some vegetables) and glucose (‘blood sugar’). With a lower glycemic index than table sugar (sucrose), agave can be used in moderation as a natural sweetener.
The measure of how quickly the blood sugar is raised after consuming a certain food item. The lower the index the better.
Similar to maple syrup, agave can come in variations of light to dark. Generally the darker the syrup or nectar, the sweeter the taste.
Agave can be used as a substitute for sugar or honey in recipes. As it is quite sweet, less can be used which means fewer calories added.
The Aztecs reportedly used agave as a balm for skin infections and applied it with salt to wounds.
Agave is considered to have anti-bacterial properties when used topically or taken internally.
- Honey and maple syrup can be substituted with equal amounts of agave
- Granulated sugar, corn syrup and brown rice syrup can be substituted with lesser amounts of agave. The liquid in the recipe may also have to be adjusted in making this switch.
- Agave is still sugar so consume in moderation if you consume at all.
- To balance out the flavours in homemade salad dressing and sauces, add a touch of agave syrup.
- Use in hot and cold drinks, homemade granola and bread dough.