Agave syrup is a popular natural sweetener with everyone from commercial food producers to moms looking for sugar alternatives.
Many people know agave syrup as the dash of sweetness in their morning coffee or their reliable sugar substitute for baked goods or other recipes. But fewer people know how agave is grown or what its specific health benefits are. So let’s get into it! Here are some agave facts you might not know.
1. One sweet succulent.
Easter lilies and agave syrup? The relationship is closer than you think! Many people assume the agave plant is a type of cactus, but it’s actually a succulent that’s related to the lily family.
2. Safety in the sky.
Agave plants are shaped like sea urchins, with hundreds of soft spines radiating out from a solid center. But when they flower, they send a long stalk straight up, with yellow flowers that bloom on the end of it. Sending its most vulnerable parts into the air (up to 20 feet!) protects the agave plants by keeping its reproductive parts up and out of the way of animals that might want to take a bite out of it.
3. An unusual pollinator.
The Mexican long-nosed bat is the agave plant’s biggest pollinator. The bats use their long muzzles to feed on the agave’s nectar like a hummingbird does with smaller flowers. When they flit between plants, they transfer pollen that collects on their fur as they feed.
4. Long-term payoff.
In order to achieve the high fructose levels that premium agave syrup requires, the agave plants need to grow untouched for six to eight years. Once they’ve reached maturity, they can be harvested for processing.
5. A special harvest.
During harvesting, a highly skilled Mexican professional called a jimador strips the agave leaves off the plant using a coa, a long tool with a very sharp round knife at the end.
6. Quick and efficient.
A professional jimador can process up to 100 pinãs a day.
7. Getting to the heart of it.
The pinã, or heart, of the agave plant weighs about one hundred pounds upon harvest. This large part of the plant is gathered by hand once a jimador has stripped the leaves.
8. All-natural and sustainable.
Agave is non-GMO and is cultivated by replanting small suckers, or tendrils, that the agave plant produces around its second year of growth. These are harvested and re-planted using sustainable farming methods.
9. Better effects on your body and the earth.
Agave is low on the glycemic index, which means it doesn’t raise blood glucose levels as dramatically as high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar. It’s grown organically and is also gluten-free and vegan!
10. A sweeter alternative.
Agave is 1.5 times sweeter than sugar. So, while it has the same caloric value as sugar, you can use less and save calories. Long-term, this property can help with weight control.
When you buy from the Tierra Group, you’re supporting local farmers. Their love for the land and its people is the driving motivation behind our high-quality agave syrup and agave inulin products. Find them on Amazon, or contact us for private label or bulk purchases.