Agave sweetener is one of the alternative sweetener in the market that is enjoying a large following despite the fact that there are a lot of different kinds of sweeteners available. This is because of its rich taste and versatility in function.
The word agave is actually derived from a Greek word that means noble. Agave sweetener is made from an organic material, the agave syrup that comes from the sap of agave or maguey plants hearts. An agave that is already mature have leaves that can rise to as tall as 5-8 feet and have a diameter of about 7-12 feet. The plant can live for about 8-15 years depending of course with the way it is grown and of course the climate.
In Mexico alone, there are about 136 different kinds of Agave plants. The blue agave or what is known there as the Agave tequilana weber azul, is actually used to produce tequila. This is also used to make agave syrup.
Some agave plants are also used in combination with other species to produce mescal, a form of alcohol that is almost similar to the tequila.Compared to other kinds of agave, the blue agave has a higher fructose content. For this reason and a host of other reasons, it is considered the finest agave in the world.
Being a natural product, agave syrup can be a great and safe sweetener. The sweetener is derived from the carbohydrates present in the agave plant through a process called thermic or heat. This will then create sugar, whose main ingredient is inulin or fructosan, a complex form of carbohydrate.
There are no chemicals involved in this process. The juice of the agave is extracted from the core or heart of the plant. This dark juice contains minerals that has a natural flavor. It smells like vanilla. Solids that are found in the liquid will then be removed through a fine filtration process, thus removing the dark color and producing a consistency that is thinner than honey.
Fructose, one of the main ingredients of agave sweetener, can be found in fruits and vegetables, hence the name. Agave sweetener, however, is much sweeter than sucrose but has the same caloric contest as sucrose or what we call the table sugar.
Today, agave syrup is derived not only from the blue agave but also from other varieties such as the Salmania, the grey agave, the thorny agave, the rainbow agave and the green agave.