What Is Agave Nectar?

Ever heard of high-fructose agave nectar? That's cause it doesn't exist. Agave nectar broke out on the food trend scene several years ago as a natural alternative to processed sweeteners and it's plenty fructose-ey on its own. Plus, it comes from the same place as our beloved tequila. Here's how agave nectar differs from its margarita-loving cousin.

Once a blue agave plant reaches maturity, about 10 years (that's how long it takes to develop its sugars), its leaves are removed and its heart, or piña, is pressed for liquid. The liquid is heated to separate the sugars, which are then concentrated into a thin syrup — agave nectar. If the agave plants are juiced and allowed to ferment rather than reducing them into nectar, you're just one distillation away from tequila.

Even though it's much lower on the glycemic index (characteristic of fructose-based sweeteners) agave nectar is actually sweeter than white sugar — about 1.5 times more. All this means is you simply need to use less of it, an important thing to keep in mind when using fructose-based sweeteners in general.

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