The agave, or century plant, is the latest addition to the growing list of “super” foods. This succulent contains an abundance of fruit sugar in its juice, and agave nectar is becoming more popular as a natural sugar substitute.
What makes agave nectar so popular? First, the nectar is nearly 40 times sweeter than sugar. This helps cut down the amount of sweetener that is included in baked goods, drinks, jams and jellies, which cuts calories without diminishing the taste. Agave nectar is also heat stable, so there is no bitter aftertaste or off flavor when it is heated. Second, agave nectar doesn’t cause the blood sugar spikes associated with refined sugar. The nectar is high in fructose, or fruit sugar, rather than sucrose and is low on the glycemic index. Dieters and some diabetics may be able to use agave nectar and be able to avoid using aspartame. Finally, agave nectar has not been identified as a trigger for food allergies.
Agave nectar is very similar to honey in color and consistency. The nectar is available in both amber and dark. These can be substituted in most recipes for white sugar or brown sugar respectively. To substitute agave for sugar, use 2/3 cup of the nectar for every cup of sugar in the recipe, and reduce the liquid by 1/3 cup. In recipes with no liquids added, increase the amount of flour by 1/4 cup. Agave nectar is best used in baked goods that are dense such as muffins, brownies, cheesecakes or quick breads, but it can also be used in jam, jelly, cookies, smoothies, marinades or salad dressing. It is also a great substitute for pancake syrup. Store agave nectar in the refrigerator.
The following recipe is called The Healing Marinade. Contributed by Dr Tom Potisk (a.k.a. The Down to Earth Doctor), all of the ingredients have properties that help repair cells and increase the strength of the immune system. Dr. Potisk recommends marinating lean meat, such as skinless chicken breast, venison or fish, and then grilling or broiling.
The Healing Marinade
2 garlic cloves, crushed through a garlic press
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup Agave nectar (preferred) or honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Whisk this together and let your meat/poultry soak in it for at least 1/2 hour.Cook as desired
Locally, agave nectar is available from Whole Foods, GNC and the following stores:
4375 Georgetown Rd
8215 US Highway 31 South
Autumn Whispers Health and Harmony
18 N Indiana St
Health Spot Inc
4223 Lafayette Rd
3730 E 82nd St
Good Earth Natural Foods
6350 N. Guilford Ave.
Winding Way Farms Indianapolis
5888 East 82nd Street
2424 Lake Circle Drive
Back in Time Natural Foods
7900 E US Hwy 36 Ste D
4705 E 96th St Ste 45
Additional recipes using agave nectar and a coupon for Domino brand agave is available online at Domino.com.