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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

AGAVE: Sweet Storage!

Most food storage calculations encourage families to store about 60 lbs. of sugar per person per year. This total can include honey, molasses, jell-o, jams and jellies, or corn syrup too. Agave is another great sweetener to consider for long-term food storage. If you haven’t tried agave, you need to! A friend who is battling breast cancer, and really watching her diet and nutrition, introduced me to agave about two years ago. Agave nectar comes from a plant that is similar to an aloe vera plant. There are light and dark / amber varieties. The light is similar to a mild-flavored honey. I stir it into my oatmeal. The amber is slightly stronger, somewhat similar to maple syrup, and especially good for use in barbecue sauces. It is a near-perfect sweetener for a lot of reasons. It is low on the glycemic index scale making it great for diabetics, and for others looking to reduce their sugar intake. It is very similar to honey in taste and consistency, so it is sweeter than sugar, and can be substituted for sugar in smaller quantities for reduced caloric intake. To substitute agave for sugar in baked goods, use 1/2 cup agave for 1 cup sugar in the recipe. This link provides even more detailed directions for substitutions (and the site has other interesting facts about agave) :

I won’t get on my soapbox, but I loathe artificial sweeteners, so I love that agave is a natural and healthful sugar replacement. The bonus food storage benefit is that agave doesn’t crystallize like honey does. It has a long, almost indefinite shelf-life. I have found that agave is quite pricey locally, so I order mine from Amazon in bulk, which is typically on sale. Here is a link to their agave products:

If you have used agave, I would love to hear your tips and recipes.


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