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Kalyn's Kitchen

Kalyn’s Kitchen Picks: Agave Nectar

Agave NectarIt’s been a long time since I discovered a new product that rocked my world in the way agave nectar has done, so it seemed like a natural to be featured for Kalyn’s Kitchen Picks, where I tell you about products I love. If you’ve somehow missed me raving about it, agave nectar is a 100% natural sweetener that’s low on the glycemic index. It’s South Beach Diet friendly, vegan, and reported to be safe for diabetics as well.   (Edit 2011:  I am told that not all sources agree that this is safe for diabetics; if you’re diabetic, I would recommend following the advice of your doctor.)

The sweet taste in agave nectar comes from natural fructose, the same sweetener found in fruit, not to be confused with high fructose corn syrup which has chemically produced fructose.  In recent years concerns have arisen concerning chemically produced agave nectar.  I still believe the brand mentioned in this post is safe for most people, particuarly in the small amounts in which I use it.  You may want to read Agave Myth Buster and Is Agave Nectar Safe, both of which speak specifically to this brand.  Also food expert Ellie Krieger says moderate amounts of agave nectar are not harmful.

Agave nectar comes in two types, light and amber. The light variety tastes like sugar and the amber one tastes more like honey. I’ve tried both types and think they both taste great, with no aftertaste or “too sweet” taste like some artificial sweeteners have. Agave is sweeter than sugar or honey and also more liquid, so recipes will need to be adjusted, but more and more food bloggers are reporting good results substituting this ingredient in recipes. Agave nectar is available online if you can’t find it where you live, although I think it’s pretty widely available. In Salt Lake I can find it at Whole Foods as well as my regular grocery store. Keep reading to see ways I’ve used agave nectar, and recipes from other bloggers who are using it.

South Beach Suggestions:

I looked up fructose in The South Beach Diet Good Fats, Good Carbs Guide, my favorite little book to check ingredients, and it’s considered “good.” However since fructose is found in fruit, and fruit isn’t allowed on phase one, I’d limit use of agave nectar to phase two and three. Agave does have carbs, and a small amount of glucose, so it needs to be counted in the daily amount of carbs you’re eating if you’re a South Beach Dieter, especially for phase two.

Recipes where I’ve Used Agave Nectar:
Greek Yogurt with Agave Nectar and Pecans
Sweet and Sour Broccoli Salad
Sugar-Free Coleslaw with Agave Nectar
Greek Yogurt Dessert with Hazelnut Agave Nectar and Shaved Dark Chocolate 
Agave-Sweetened 100% Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread 
Roasted Carrots with Agave-Balsamic Glaze 
Low-Sugar Double Blueberry Yogurt Parfait

More About Agave Nectar on the Web
The Awesome Agave from Shake off the Sugar
I write about Agave at Blogher (and recipe links)
About Agave from Friends of Animals
Agave Nectar from Wikipedia

More Bloggers Cooking with Agave Nectar:
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Oil and Agave Dressing for Salad from A Veggie Venture
Cranberry Orange Muffins from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Vegan Coconut Bars from Karina’s Kitchen
Grilled Chicken and Pepper Tamales from Eddybles
Kiwi Gelato from Coconut and Lime
Three ways to use agave nectar from Nika’s Culinaria
Gluten-Free, Sugar Free Hamantaschen by Gluten Free Bay
Agave Sweetened Ice Cream from David Lebovitz

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26 comments on “Kalyn’s Kitchen Picks: Agave Nectar”

  1. I have a large container of light agave syrup. It is the third one that I have used. It is 2015 and the date says it is good thru 2017. This time only, the agave has become lighter/whitish and solidified . I always keep it in the refrigerator. We are thinking of throwing it out. Everywhere I read, "agave does not solidify". Any ideas?

  2. Agave doesn't need to be refrigerated. Glad you're enjoying the blog.

  3. After you open the Agave Nectar, must you store it in the refrigerator or is a kitchen cupboard ok?

    Thanks for all your great information!

  4. Cheryl, I can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t work, and I just entered “jam with agave nectar” into Food Blog Search and I see there are some food bloggers trying it. That would be a good place to look for recipes.

  5. Kalyn, I am wondering if you can use agave nectar as a substitute for sugar in jams, jellies, preserves. I have not run across any recipes for that yet. Seems to me that should not be a problem. Any suggestions?

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