Oh sugar, how I have a love/hate relationship with thee! Sugar is bad, but oh so good! When one decides to go healthy, one of the first things to go is processed sugar. So, if you have to kick processed sugar to the curb, than what do you use for cooking up your healthy eats? One option is agave nectar.
What is Agave?
Agave Nectar is made from the agave plant, which in its fermented form, is tequila. Agave has been used in medicinal ways for many years due to certain healing properties that the plant has, but in recent years has started to make its way on to the food scene. There is light colored and amber colored agave nectar, with the latter having more of a maple syrup taste. Most agave nectar that I’ve seen on the market is also organic, which means less chemicals involved and gives it a slight upper hand on other sweeteners. I personally use agave nectar and I really enjoy the taste and even though it has a high sugar content, you actually get more bang for your calorie bucks because you only need a little to make a big impact on whatever you are adding it to. Agave nectar also has some extra vitamins and minerals that other sweeteners may not have, such as, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
When To Use It?
Not only do I use agave nectar when I bake, but I also use it as part of my coffee creamer. Instead of adding creamer to your morning joe, try some almond milk, cinnamon and a little squirt of agave nectar. You can also use agave nectar to make your own fruit jam. Just add about 1 to 1 ½ cups of fresh fruit (so far I’ve used strawberries, blueberries, and grapes and they were all yummy), about a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds (the seeds not only are nutritional powerhouses, but they help your jam to set by gelling), and a squirt of agave nectar to your blender and give it a few pulses until you reach a texture that still has some chunks but isn’t pureed. Let your jam chill overnight in the refrigerator so that it can set.
So, is agave nectar the best sweetener around nutritionally?
Well, in the end, it is still sugar, so moderation is still key. I prefer it over other sweeteners because I can use less and still achieve some added sweetness to my dish. If you don’t like agave nectar or you can’t find it in your area, than my other choice would be raw honey because it hasn’t been stripped of its nutritional properties by being processed. Have you tried agave nectar? Yay or Nay on agave?