Agave nectar, also called agave syrup, is a wonder food. It has a natural sweetness that’s more elegant than table sugar—never cloying or “sugary.”
Its glycemic index is 32, half that of sugar (GI 60-65) and more than 40% less than honey (GI 58) and pure maple syrup (GI 54). It’s diabetes-friendly.
A teaspoon of agave has 20 calories; sugar has 16 calories and honey has 22 calories. But since agave is 1.4 to 1.5 times sweeter than sugar, you don’t need to use as much.
It follows that when you’re cooking or baking with agave, you need to use less. Agave is also 20% moisture, so you also have to reduce the moisture when baking.
Alas, there’s no one great book of agave recipes (publishers take note!). Those that exist have as many critics as fans. Here’s one to take a look at: Baking with Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener.
 Agave nectar is one of our favorite products (photo Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE).
MORE AGAVE-TO-SUGAR CONVERSIONS
Agave syrup is made from the sap of several different succulents grown commercially in Mexico. One, the blue agave, is also used to make tequila.
Agave is about 25% sweeter than sugar, and because of its composition, 90% fructose/10% sucrose, it has a low glycemic index score, about half that of sugar.
This means that it affects blood sugar levels less dramatically than regular sugar (or honey or maple syrup). It also contains trace minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Here’s everything you need to know about agave nectar.
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