Maybe it’s a fad but here are the facts: Agave nectar has different a different flavor and composition than sugar, honey, maple syrup, or any artificial sweetener out there. Coming straight from the Blue Agave’s core, this nectar is extracted, filtered, and then heated into a concentrated syrup-like liquid a little thinner than honey. Ranging from light to dark, it’s high in fructose and naturally contains iron, calcium, potassium, & magnesium.
It All Began In Mexico
It all started thousands of years ago when the Aztecs used this nectar they called aguamiel or “honey water” as a flavoring in foods and drinks. They believed agave was a gift from the gods. Now it has burst off the shelves of specialty natural food stores into mainstream grocers. Pre prepared foods are increasingly sweetened with the nectar and folks are realizing that it’s a healthier alternative to traditional sweeteners.
More Versatile for Baking
Blue Agave’s high carbohydrate content yields a higher percentage of fructose making it milder than honey and free of bitter aftertastes often associated with artificial sweeteners. Varieties range from light to dark with lighter syrups produced by heating the nectar at a lower temperature and filtering it more thoroughly producing a more mildly flavored and fruity liquid neutral enough to be used in many recipes. Darker syrups are filtered less leaving behind more solids producing a stronger flavor similar to maple syrup.
Lighter ambers are typically the way to go for most desserts and for pouring over pancakes and waffles. When substituting agave syrup for white sugar in a recipe, use about 25% less than the amount of sweetener called for. You also will need to adjust other ingredients to compensate for using a liquid, rather than a dry sweetener. This extra moisture particularly enhances soft, chewy cookies but isn’t an option for shortbread or crispy chocolate chip cookies. When baking, be sure to lower the oven temperature by about 25 degrees because it browns faster than conventional sugar.
And now the best part…even with all these culinary strengths, it isn’t worse for your health as a result. In fact, while it may have the same calorie count per teaspoon as table sugar, it is sweeter so you can use less of it. It also has a low glycemic effect impacting blood sugar levels at a lower rate than white sugar and corn syrup.