Agave Nectar is a new thing to me. It is used as a sweetener and sugar substitute and is an all natural source. It’s not a nasty chemical like aspartame or some sort of Frankensweetener like splenda. It is sap from the Agave plant.
A lot of people like it for sweetening things from baked goods to coffee. I normally try to use honey when I can but sometimes even honey can be a little powerful in terms of flavor. There are times when I want to add sweetness to something without adding additional flavor. I decided to purchase some Agave nectar to see what it was all about.
Agave nectar has the same calorie makeup as honey, 60calories per tablespoon. I do not count calories but some do, so I’m providing the information. Straight agave nectar has a more neutral taste and really all I can taste is sweet. Whereas with honey or maple syrup, there are background flavors going on.
I have used agave in hot tea and it was just okay. I actually prefer to stick with honey in hot tea. However, I recently made my first batch of iced tea for the summer and needed to sweeten it. There was no way I was going to add a ton of white or even cane sugar to make the tea sweet. I just couldn’t bring myself to use that much sugar.
I’ve used honey before in iced tea but I’ve noticed that after about two days the honey starts to get a bit rancid in the tea creating a smell and causing the flavor to be off a bit. This time around I decided to test out the agave nectar in the tea. Part of the reason I used it is because it almost has a simple syrup consistency to it. Where maple syrup and honey are both thick and sticky substances, agave nectar is very thin and smooth. I knew that this would dissolve well in the tea and also not cause the tea to become cloudy.
It worked perfectly! I didn’t need to add a ton of the nectar because agave has a strong sweet presence and it dissolved very quickly. It resulted in a perfectly sweetened tea without the heavy syrupy taste that can sometimes happen with sugar or honey.
I’m looking forward to experimenting more with agave in baking. I have a feeling it will provide the right amount of sweetness to some cookies or muffins.
Consider agave nectar if you need a sweetener and are looking to get away from refined sugar or processed chemical sweeteners. I was able to purchase mine at Whole Foods but I can also get some at one of my local grocery stores. It is starting to be a bit more common as people are researching sugar alternatives.
With anything there are pros and cons. Research and decide on what’s best for you. I’m just sharing my opinion and experience with agave. Will agave replace other sweeteners in my house? The simple answer is no because different things require different kinds of sweeteners. It is just one of those things I like to have on hand.