If you asked this question ten years ago, most people wouldn’t have known the answer. However, the growing popularity of tequila and organic sweeteners have introduced many people to the agave plant. Agave (pronounced ah-GAH-vay) is actually a succulent, part of the lily (amaryllis) family.

Cultivating agave is a seedless process. Rather than planting seeds, agave farmers harvest small sucker tendrils from mature agave plants and replant them. Left on their own, these young agave would eventually grow a stalk-like center shoot that flowers like a lily. But in agave grown for production, the center stalk is cut off before it can flower, increasing the plant’s fructose levels and allowing it to grow larger. After six to eight years of growth, the agave plant is harvested for tequila or agave syrup production.

Where does agave come from?

Agave grows on multiple continents, but is most commonly found in Mexico, where it’s grown for the production of tequila and other products including agave syrup and agave inulin.  While it thrives in the high altitudes and mineral-rich soils of the Mexican state of Jalisco, it’s also grown in many other areas of Mexico. However, the production of blue agave, used to make premium organic agave products, is concentrated in Jalisco region.

How to use agave?

In a word, sweetening. Organic agave syrup is a low-glycemic sugar substitute that excels in drinks, sauces, syrups, baking, cocktails and more. It’s available in multiple types, which range in color and strength of flavor.

All premium agave products have a somewhat smoky flavor. Lighter syrups have more neutral flavor profiles, while darker ones taste stronger. The lighter type is typically used for direct-to-table applications like salad dressings or mixed drinks. The darker type, with its more distinct smoky edge, is typically used in applications like baking or marinades.

Agave syrup is almost twice as sweet as sugar, so you can use less when you’re making substitutions in cooking, baking and other applications. Here’s a quick guide to substituting agave syrup for other sweeteners in most recipes and food applications.

How should I make agave substitutions?

  • Agave for white sugar: use three fourths as much agave syrup as sugar.
  • Agave for brown sugar: use three fourths as much agave syrup as sugar.
  • Agave for honey: use the same amount.
  • Agave for maple syrup: use the same amount.
  • Agave for brown rice syrup: use half as much agave syrup. Add liquid to make up the difference.
  • Agave for corn syrup: use half as much agave syrup. Add liquid to make up the difference.

What are agave benefits?

You can feel good about using agave syrup as a sweetener. It’s organic, certified as a non-GMO product, gluten-free and vegan! And it’s one and a half times as sweet as sugar, so you can cut calories by using less to achieve the same levels of sweetness.

Agave also has a much lower glycemic index than refined sugar. In fact, its glycemic index is less than a third of sugar’s. And unlike artificial (non-nutritive) sweeteners, agave syrup is a real sugar, created from natural sources.

Where can I buy organic agave?

If you purchase Tierra Group premium organic blue agave syrup, you can feel good about where it comes from.

Our farmer-owned factory adheres to fair trade employment standards and ecologically responsible employment practices. We give back to the local community centered around our factory through sports programs and involvement in the local chamber of commerce. With every step in our process, we’re committed to brand transparency and the quality of our product.  Purchase our branded agave syrup on Amazon or contact us to request a quote for wholesale orders of our private label agave syrup.