So you are a discerning health enthusiast and a chef who enjoys the occasional cocktail. Knowing that it can be found in everything, you’ve wisely researched healthy, tasty substitutes to table sugar, with natural syrups such as agave coming out as the best alternative. But for us connoisseurs with a sweet tooth, with so many choices becoming readily available, what should we be looking for when we purchase agave?
Anyone familiar with honey production by bees will likely have heard the term nectar, but do you know what it is and why bees use it? Nectar is the name given to the raw, sugar-like substance extracted from plants in liquid form. Bees use nectar to replenish their energy supplies, which they use to make honey. The process is the same for agave production. Nectar is taken from the agave's core—the piña—before the syrup is created for human consumption. Agave nectar is effectively the raw form of the substance that will be made into syrup. When shopping for agave, if you encounter syrup on the shelves and the label suggests it is nectar, it is likely a syrup made at a lower temperature.
One of the most common syrups used as a sweetener is maple syrup. The maple syrup production process is similar to that of agave in that the sap of the maple tree is extracted and refined into a viscous syrup, which is then used as a sweetener.
Wondering if agave syrup is healthy or gluten free? It can be! Skinny Mixes naturally sweet margarita mixes contain agave syrup as part of a specially selected combination of ingredients chosen for both their taste and their health benefits. So, when you make your favorite cocktails using our margarita mixes, the result will be a tasty flavor combination that is naturally sweetened and contains 75% less sugar and calories than the leading brand.
To make agave syrup, a slightly different refinement process is carried out whereby the nectar is extracted from the tough fibers of the piña. Then, a process of hydrolysis is used to break the inulin chains down into fructose. Excess water is extracted so the syrup remains stable and viscous and can be worked into your favorite foods and beverages.
It is important to note that nectar and syrup are different. Unless it hasn’t undergone any manufacturing process after it’s been extracted from the plant, a product should be regarded as syrup.