Agave NectarPosted: August 25, 2008
What is this “Agave” I have been heard to speak of? It is a Mexican/South American plant that look like this:
and is solely responsible for the production of this:
It’s good for other stuff as well. Agave nectar is more and more commonly being used as a sweetener in home food preparation for the following reasons:
- It is 10% glucose and 90% natural fructose (unlike the unnatural fructose of High Fructose Corn Syrup) according to one source. Those numbers can vary rather drastically though depending on the vendor.
- Agave nectar naturally contains iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
- It is more slowly absorbed by the body than white sugar and as such is lower on the glycemic index (a 40-45 approx.). This basically means you will miss out on the sugar roller coaster. Regardless of what the particular glucose to fructose ratio is.
- Can be used by vegans, children under two and acrobats (in case we have any acrobat readers).
- Agave nectar is sweeter than sugar (as is honey) so you can use less of it.
- It’s a real whole food. it hasn’t been processed and refined within an inch of its life.
- It dissolves smoothly in cold liquids unlike most other sweeteners (honey and sugar in particular)
- Agave tastes good. Case closed.
So how does it work in baking? Besides making your baked goods soft and moist you mean?
- Like honey, you can cut down on the liquids in a recipe by 1/3.
- As it’s 25% sweeter than sugar you adjust accordingly: 1 cup of sugar becomes 3/4 cup agave (like those mad math skills?). Wikipedia says to use 1/3 cup agave for every one cup of sugar the recipe calls for. Their math skills aren’t as gloriously honed as mine. Really, you should just experiment and find what works best for you and yours.
- If you’re baking with it it pays to reduce the oven temperature by up to 25 degrees as it can cause your baked goods to brown more quickly otherwise.
Use it in other ways too though: in a smoothie, in your tea or coffee, instead of maple syrup on pancakes, on hot cereal or in ice cream to name a few. Have fun with it.
Here are some links to yummy recipes using agave as a sweetener (the first three are mine!). Let me know how it goes for you and share your recipes if you have them!
please note that I personally use raw agave nectar and that is what the above facts and stats apply to