Agave Nectar FAQs
Q. What is Agave Nectar?
C&H® Organic Blue Agave Nectar is a delicious and organic liquid sweetener that is made from the nectar, or Aguamiel, of a succulent plant called the Agave, which is native to Mexico. Our agave nectar is made from the organically grown Agave azul or Blue Agave — a species that is known to produce the best quality agave nectar for sweetening.
Since agave nectar is a sweet product, and ranks as having a low glycemic index, it makes for a versatile and ideal sweetener. Low glycemic index foods are an important part of healthy diets as they help to keep energy levels balanced. In addition, agave nectar is a gluten-free product and it contains no allergens.
Agave nectar is purified when it is heated. Depending upon the levels of heating, we are able to produce two varieties- Organic Blue Agave Nectar Syrup and Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup (Dark). Organic Blue Agave Nectar Syrup offers a pure sweetness that will not add any flavor when sweetening beverages or recipes. The Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup gives a more caramel-like flavor to foods, perfect for sweetening breakfast foods like pancakes, oatmeal or cereal.
Q. What is the difference between the Organic Blue Agave Nectar Syrup and the Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup?
Taste and consistency; Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup has a richer flavor and has a slightly thicker consistency. Organic Blue Agave Nectar Syrup is heated less, resulting in a sweetener that does not add any flavor to your recipes. Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup is processed a little longer to get the darker color and richer flavor. Similar to caramelizing sugar, when you first melt sugar it is clear, but as it caramelizes it becomes darker and thicker.
Q. Can I bake with agave nectar?
Yes, the sweetness of either C&H® Organic Organic Blue Agave Nectar Syrup or Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup lends itself perfectly for baking and cooking recipes. Since agave nectar is a liquid, it will incorporate easily into favorite desserts.
You will see the best results in baked goods with a denser texture, such as brownies, muffins, heavier cakes and bar cookies.
Q. How do I substitute agave nectar for the sugar in my recipe?
Agave nectar is a liquid sweetener and will sweeten baked goods just like sugar, but it does not have all the properties of sugar.
For each cup of granulated sugar in your recipe, use 2/3 cup Organic Blue Agave Nectar Syrup and reduce the amount of other liquids by 1/4 to 1/3 cup. Use Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup to replace light brown sugar and reduce liquids by 1/4 cup.
If there are no added liquids in the recipe, you can increase flour by 1/4 to 1/3 cup to absorb the extra liquid added by the agave nectar. Make sure any solid ingredients, like butter, are softened and that the agave nectar is at room temperature. Also, if the recipe is being sweetened by other ingredients, such as chocolate chips, you may want to use slightly less agave for those recipes. When adding agave to traditional baking recipes, first whip softened butter, then pour the agave in and mix. You would then follow with the eggs.
Since the properties of agave nectar are different from granulated sugar, some baked items may brown quicker. We recommend reducing the oven temperature by 25°F and increase baking time a few minutes. It is also important to note that cookie recipes using agave nectar will not bake crisp, as with sugar. They will have a different cake-like texture, but taste delicious!
Q. Will substituting agave nectar work in all recipes?
Yes, but you may see slight differences in some of your finished baked goods. For example, cookies will have a more cake-like texture.
Q. What recipes will Organic Blue Agave Nectar Syrup work best with?
It is wonderful in vanilla cake, muffins and cheesecake. It is also the perfect everyday sweetener in beverages like coffee, iced and hot teas, over fruit and in smoothies or mixed drinks. See Agave Recipe for more ideas.
Q. What recipes will Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup (Dark) work best with?
Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup is rich in flavor so it's best to use in recipes that have a darker color, like chocolate cake, brownies and cookies. It is also great to use a blend of both types of agave nectar in desserts.
Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup is also ideal for pouring over pancakes, in oatmeal and for sauces and salad dressings. See Agave Recipe for more ideas.
Q. Do I cream the agave nectar with the butter and eggs just like I do when using sugar?
No, because agave nectar is a liquid, it will not cream like sugar. To add agave nectar into a recipe, first whip softened butter, then pour the agave in and mix, you would then follow with the eggs.
Q. Can I use agave nectar for candy making?
With the exception of Agave Marshmallows, agave nectar will not work when making candy. Agave nectar will burn before it reaches the high temperatures needed for traditional candy. It is best to use granulated sugar for your candy recipes.
Q. If I want my baked goods sweeter, can I add more agave nectar to the recipe?
Yes. You can go as much as cup-for-cup.
Q. Is your agave nectar made from "Blue Agave"?
Yes, it comes from the Weber Blue Agave plant. Agave nectar can be made from various agave plants, however, the Blue Agave plants are a species of the plant that produces a premium nectar.
Q. Why is your agave nectar sold by weight and not by volume?
Agave nectar has a variable consistency that changes with temperature, similar to honey. Because the volume fluctuates with temperature changes, the most consistent way to measure agave nectar is by net weight. C&H® Organic Blue Agave Nectar is available in either 23.5 oz. or 11.75 oz. net weight bottles. Keep in mind, these are not fluid ounces. There are 16 FL OZ in each 23.5 oz. bottle and 8 FL OZ in each 11.75 oz. bottle.
Q. Does agave nectar have an expiration date?
Yes, 2 years from the date it is packed. You can figure out the date that your specific agave nectar bottle was packed within the code date. The number will be printed down one side of the bottle.
To read the code date, the first letter is the facility where packaged. The second number is the year. Third number is the week of that year and fourth is the day of the week.
For example, a code date of "Y1142" is read as:
Y – facility
1 – 2011
14 – Fourteenth week of year (week of April 4)
2 – day of week (Monday)
Q. Is this product domestic or imported?
It is a product of Mexico, meaning that the agave plants are grown in Mexico. But the agave nectar is processed in the USA.
Q. What is the difference between raw agave and your product?
Since we heat the agave nectar to pasteurize it, we cannot call it "raw". Heating is also an additional measure to promote consistency and quality.
Q. What is the process used with agave?
We pasteurize our agave nectar products by heating them. Since it is an imported product, we opted to pasteurize as a measure of food safety and it gives our products a longer shelf life. Heating is also an additional measure to promote consistency and quality.
Q. How does agave nectar compare to sugar in calories?
Agave has a slightly higher caloric count than sugar, but since you generally use less agave nectar to sweeten than you would sugar, you get equal or fewer calories.
Q. What does it mean that agave nectar has a "low glycemic index"?
A "Glycemic Index" or "GI" is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream have a high GI; carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, have a low GI. C&H® Organic Blue Agave Nectar has a glycemic index in the low 20s.
Q. Why do I use less agave nectar than sugar?
Agave nectar is slightly sweeter than sugar, so you can use less of it to get the same sweet results.
Q. Can people with diabetes use agave nectar?
Agave nectar has a lower glycemic index than traditional sugar. It is more slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, releasing glucose more slowly. We recommend you consult your physician before adding this or any new product to your diet.
Q. Can I use agave nectar in place of sugar when making jams and jellies?
A. Yes, you can. Just replace the appropriate amount of agave nectar for the sugar. The jam or jelly will thicken as it cools.
Q. Will agave nectar work if I am making jam or jelly that calls for storing in the refrigerator?
A. Yes, agave nectar will function in jam or jelly recipes just as it would with sugar so it is perfectly fine to store in the refrigerator.
Q. Will the agave nectar work if I am canning?
A. Yes, it will. Agave nectar works with canning the same way as it does with sugar.