By Alberto Navarro, Agave Spirits Expert
D.O. Agave Spirits: Proudly Mexican
The Tahona Society Editorial Team
Oct 12, 2021
Surely you wonder how agave syrup, also known as agave nectar, is made. Agave syrup is composed of the liquid inside the tequilana weber or agave azul plant—the same that we use to produce Altos tequila!
Agave syrup was developed long ago by indigenous communities throughout Mexico when they discovered the high content of sugars in agave plants.
According to @sugarsoftheworld, there is a legend that says that a thunderstorm destroyed one agave piña (core) and the heat from the lightning hitting the plant converted the juice of the agave plant into agave syrup. People commonly say that agave syrup was discovered this way.
1.- Agave tequilana piñas are cut free from their root base.
2.- The leaves are removed from the agave piñas.
3.- The solids and the liquids of the piñas are removed and the juice is extracted.
4.- The filtered juice is heated and becomes a simple sugar called fructose. Technically, the agave nectar is heated to less than 118o F, causing thermal hydrolysis which breaks down the carbohydrates into sugars. The main carbohydrates are a complex form of fructose.
5.- The filtered juice is concentrated into a syrup-like liquid a little thinner than bee honey. Its color varies from light to dark amber.
Have you heard about the glycemic index (GI)? It measures how much a carbohydrate-rich food may raise our glucose levels. Agave syrup has just a 19 GI, while white table sugar has a 60 GI! This make agave syrup a good alternative to sugar for people with diabetes.
What we love about agave nectar is its strong sweetening power, but at the same time a relatively neutral or mild taste. So, when it is used with other flavors, they are not adulterated but rather intensified. When replacing table sugar with agave nectar, the go to ratio is 3/4 agave syrup equals 1 sugar. Sometimes you can go even lower, up to 1/2 agave to 1 sugar.
Agave syrup may cause baked recipes to brown faster than when using sugar. Reduce oven temperature by 25º F and increase baking time, accordingly.