Agave nectar is a naturally-occurring sweetener made from the juice of the agave plant – typically Agave tequilana (blue agave) or Agave salmiana. Most agave sold in the United States is grown in the mountainous, southwestern regions of Mexico.
The subtle, maple-like flavor of amber (or dark) agave nectar makes a great substitute for maple syrup, brown sugar, and molasses for cooking, baking and toppings. Light agave has a very mild, neutral flavor, sweetening without disrupting the flavor of other ingredients. The degree of darkness and thus, intensity of flavor, varies depending on the amount of processing and filtering.
- Agave nectar is a relatively low glycemic index sweetener, meaning it causes a more gradual and drop rise in blood sugar. The glycemic index of agave is 17, compared to a GI of 68 for granulated table sugar!
- Agave is also 1.4 times sweeter than sugar, meaning you can use less of it to achieve the same sweetness!
- Agave nectar is great for baking, as it adds moisture and can even help extend the shelf life of baked goods.
- This quick-dissolving liquid sweetener is also perfect for use in hot or cold beverages.
When substituting agave nectar for sugar in recipes, use 2/3 cup of agave for every cup of dry sugar, and reduce other liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup. To prevent over-browning, you may also want to slightly reduce oven temperature but increase cooking time. Decrease oven temperature by about 25 degrees and bake for an additional minute for every 15 minutes of baking time.
Madhava Natural Sweeteners offers three delicious, organic varieties of agave nectar – Light, Amber and Raw. The natural juice, or aguamiel, of the agave plants used to make Madhava’s products are organically grown and sustainably farmed in the Sierra Madres region of Mexico. All three options are also non-GMO project verified, free of gluten, tree nuts, peanuts, and dairy, and packaged with BPA-free materials. The raw variety is lightly filtered and produced at temperatures below 118 degrees to ensure the product is suitable for raw food enthusiasts. The other two varieties are double-filtered and then heated to 140 degrees during processing.
Wholesome Sweeteners agave nectar also comes in two varieties – Raw (Amber) and Light. Both products are gluten free, vegan, organic, and non-GMO. The brand now also makes individual packets, perfect for stashing in your purse or travel bag as a natural, on-the-go sweetener option!
Sohgave! is a USDA certified organic sweetener made from the Blue Weber agave plant grown in Jalisco, Mexico. Known for its premium taste and consistency, Sohgave! is popular among professional chefs and has even been picked as a Bon Appetit favorite. The company’s products are vegan, equitably traded, are packed in BPA free bottles, and come in Raw, Light, Maple, and Honey varieties.
What’s your favorite way to use agave nectar? Did we miss your favorite brand? Share it in the comments section below!