Agave Nectar is a natural sweetener made from the Agave plant (Agave plants also give us Tequila). It is similar to honey, though many prefer the taste of agave. It is sweeter than sugar, yet has a low glycemic index so is a sweetner that can be used (in moderation) by diabetics and those on weight-loss diets, and it’s completely vegan. The nectar is usually processed at low temperatures so it retains many vitamins and minerals, and has many of the benefits of raw food. It is easy to use in cooking and, in fact, many times I prefer it. It can be used in most any recipe like muffins, sauces, desserts, beverages, etc.
Some things to keep in mind when cooking with agave nectar:
1. It’s highly soluble so you should include it with the wet ingredients of your bread or other recipe that calls for the wet and dry ingredients to be mixed separately before combining.
2. You can reduce the temperature of whatever you are baking by about 25 degrees because agave many cause baked goods to brown more quickly. Just cook the recipe for a few minutes longer.
3. Substitute approximately 1/2 to 2/3 cup of agave for each cup of sugar. It’s sweeter than sugar so you don’t need as much, and you’ll also save 25 – 40% on carb calories. Woo hoo!
4. Reduce the amount of other liquids in the recipe by about 1/4 cup for each 2/3 cup of agave nectar used.
5. Don’t try to substitute agave for all of the sugar in recipes that are really sensitive or that require a chemical reaction with refined sugars. Some examples are candies and some baked goods. You may be able to substitute, but you may need to tinker with the recipe a bit.
Agave is much healthier for you than refined sugars because it has not been stripped of vital nutrients. It’s been used medicinally for centuries by ancient indian tribes in Mexico and South America as a wound healer, and for intestinal distress. You may never go back to refined sugars again!