Agave has recently made the rounds as a new, some might say “trendy”, sweetener. In an effort to veer from all that proccessed stuff (e.g. artificial sugars, corn syrup), “natural” sweeteners have become strong contenders in the foodie-world – agave seems to be the front-runner in this movement. It looks and flows like honey, but its associations are often related to the famous liquor, Tequila. However, it is certainly not new and it has many uses other than providing libations!
I purchased my first bottle of this nectar a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve use it on toast as a pre-run snack, and on top of my oatmeal as a honey-substitute. I’ve yet to decide if I prefer this to honey, but it’s definitely ranking high up there with my taste buds.
The taste is different; equally as strong and present as honey would be, but for some it is considered “more palatable”. It originates from the Agave plant in Southern Mexico, where it is known as “aguamiel”, or “honey water”. (Source)
According to an article recently published on WebMD, these are some other things you should know about Agave:
- It is grown in the United States, too! “More than 300 species of agave plants grow in the southern United States, northern South America, and the hilly regions of Mexico.”
- It contains ~60 calories per tablespoon – vs. “table”-sugar’s 40 calories per tablespoon. However, because it is sweeter, you end up using less of it.
- It does contain trace amounts of various nutrients (calcium, potassium and magnesium), but not enough to “matter nutritionally”.
- It ranks lower than most sweeteners on the Glycemic Index. Because of this, some professionals may refer to it as a “more diabetic-friendly sugar”. However, there is insignicant evidence behind that claim.
This article, titled “The Truth About Agave”, concludes with this:
“It’s better to satisfy your sweet tooth with whole fruit than with any kind of concentrated sugar. Not only is it unprocessed, and fiber- and nutrient-rich, it has an even lower glycemic index than agave.”
I will always agree that the only “natural” sweetness comes from fruit! That being said, Agave has found its place in my pantry and you definitely see it around in a recipe or two!