Over the past several years, agave nectar has come under scrutiny, in part as the result of an article written by Dr. Mercola, who claimed that it can be even worse than high fructose corn syrup! We, along with many other people, were shocked when we first read his claims. We’d been using agave as a natural sweetener for our family, and we suddenly became very concerned.
We started reading and researching, and what we learned is that, like many other products, agave can be produced in different ways. Some agave is highly processed, using a gamut of chemicals. It is true that the result is a product that is just as unhealthy as high fructose corn syrup. We wouldn’t touch a product like that!
The agave nectar that we use is a raw, organic, non-GMO, unrefined, natural sweetener, imported from Mexico. It is dark in color because it is unfiltered and is the least processed of any agave product. While standard agave is made at 160 degrees F and takes about 16 hours to produce, the agave we use never gets above 104 degrees and takes 4-5 days to produce. The entire process is completely natural. Absolutely no chemicals, enzymes, or bacteria are used. Inulin from the Pina of the Blue Agave plant is simply extrapolated into water by soaking, and then, over a period of days, naturally occurring enzymes contained in the Pina break down the inulin into simple sugar. The result is a delicious, completely natural, and unadulterated agave nectar!
Read more about the agave nectar that we use:
The Organic Agave Nectar we use is not a purified substance, such as high fructose corn syrup or white sugar. This agave is non-GMO and it is certified organic.
Agave Nectar is a sweet concentrated syrup made from the Agave plant which thrives in the central semi-arid desert of Mexico. To produce this syrup, first the "pina" or "pineapple-like center" is soaked in purified water. Then natural enzymes, already present in the "pina," are allowed to break down the inulin (complex carbohydrates) into monosaccharides (simple sugars). These sugars are predominantly composed of fructose and glucose.
The Organic Agave Nectar we use is not heated during processing and it is considered raw. The natural fermentation of the inulin water, because the temperature is kept low, takes 4 to 5 days. Concentration of the nectar occurs solely by the use of a vacuum to remove excess moisture after fermentation. Once a specific concentration of sweetness is reached, the syrup becomes shelf stable at room temperature and does not require refrigeration or any special storage.
The Organic Agave Nectar we use is dark in color because it has the least amount of processing of any Agave product. Lighter Agave Syrups can be produced by faster processing (which requires temperatures of 160 degrees or more) and heavy filtering. Raw agave, sold by other suppliers, if light in color has been filtered many, many times. Repeated filtering removes flavor and color.
The manufacturing plant in Mexico offered our supplier five different shades of agave to choose from. Each sample had a slightly different taste, with the strongest flavors coming from the darkest agave. The difference in the shades came solely from the number of times the agave was filtered and the fineness of those filters. They chose to purchase only the agave which sees the lowest temperatures and the least amount of filtering.
The Organic Agave Nectar is coming from a new, state-of-the-art plant with very tight quality control. Because our supplier visited the plant, they give their personal guarantee that the agave is raw and not heavily filtered or processed with added enzymes, chemicals or other materials. It is:
- Completely natural - no chemicals or enzymes are added during processing, only natural fermentation and simple filtration.
- Completely raw - no heat is used during processing.
- Great for baking and cooking as well as for raw dishes
- Does not contain any chemicals, toxins, or preservatives.
- 75% sweeter than sugar: fructose is 42 percent sweeter to the human brain than granulated sugar, less is needed to achieve the same level of sweetness
If you’re interested in learning more about natural agave production, here is an article that we found very interesting and informative: