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May 15, 2009 11:07 AM

Agave Nectar

Does anyone know where I could purchase 100% agave nectar in the Boston area? I'm looking to whip up some mean margaritas!

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  1. I think most whole foods carry it. (Definitely purchased some from the whole foods in Wellesley)
    and good call on the margaritas!

    1 Reply
    1. re: yummy2184

      Harvest Co-op in JP has it, multiple brands at that.

    2. What's the diff between using agave nectar and plain old sugar?

      5 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy

        comes from the same plant as tequila, so i guess one could argue that it complements the flavor better than plain sugar. plus, the syrup is easier to mix/disperse than sugar (unless you turn it into simple syrup first).

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I was aware that Agave syrup was derived from Agave just like good tequila. I should have been clearer: does it taste different? and I guess the answer is no.

          Just did a little wiki ing:

          "92% fructose and 8% glucose; another brand lists 56% fructose and 20% glucose."

          So essentially you are just getting expensive simple syrup. Sugar is sugar. Though obviously simple syrup is essentially 100% sucrose, which is broken down in your stomach into glucose and fructose:

          "Sucrose is broken down during digestion into fructose and glucose through hydrolysis by the enzyme sucrase, by which the body regulates the rate of sucrose breakdown."

          1. re: StriperGuy

            actually, agave *does* taste different than straight sucrose. the flavor varies depending on the color & grade, but all varieties are sweeter and more floral than table sugar. light agave is somewhat comparable to honey, and the darker amber nectars are reminiscent of maple syrup.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              StriperGuy, while the flavor is different (some traces of the floral notes of agave), it is hard to tell the difference between sugar and agave syrup, particularly light syrups (the heavier syrups are richer in flavor). To me, the biggest benefit to agave is how easy it mixes into drinks--it is like a high-quality simple syrup.

              I have read there are health benefits (the glycemic index of agave syrup is low), too.

              1. re: rlove

                Yes, agave has a high degree of inulins.....small polysaccharides that breakdown more slowly in your system. So in this case, sugar is *not* sugar. Agave is actually recommended for diabetics. Different from simple syrup...much sweeter. It recommended that you use about 1/3 less than regular sugar in recipes.

                TJs carries a small size too, but actually a bit more expensive than WW. I use both light and dark types in all my cooking and baking. It even works well in ice cream...I was concerned that it might affect the freezing point but it was fine.

        2. I had the same question (for the same mission) last week and got some good answers - I got it at WF.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Small Plates

            Small Plates: Good call, I didnt realize they sold this at WF's. How did you make the margs? tequila, lime juice and agave?

            I'm thirsty.

            1. re: NahantNative

              It was part of an online dinner social from - Eric Ripert's site - challenging the community to make a certain menu, upload photos and a contest winner is chosen (and wins a Canon camera!) - the recipe is this:

              Tropical fruit juices and nectars are easily found in bodegas and the international sections of most grocery stores and agave nectar is a natural sweetener that is easy to find in natural foods markets. It is made from the Agave plant - the same plant that tequila is made from.

              3 cups guava juice
              1 cup lemon juice
              ½ cup agave nectar
              2 cups tequila
              6 cups crushed ice
              Stir together the guava juice, lemon juice and agave nectar in a large pitcher. Add the tequila and crushed ice and stir well.

              1. re: Small Plates

                Thanks, can't wait to try it. I got the idea from the La Verdad menu.

          2. It's one of the things I go to Trader Joe for. Can't beat that low glycemic index, and makes a tremendous margarita.

            17 Replies
            1. re: nsenada

              Don't see how agave nectar has a low glycemic index when it is essentiallly fructose and glucose in water.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                The glycemic index is based on glucose, that is how. Fructose has a lower impact on blood sugar.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  Glycemic Index of Sugars:

                  Agave Nectar (97% fructose) 10
                  Agave Nectar (90% fructose) 11
                  Fructose 19
                  Lactose 46
                  Honey 58
                  High fructose corn syrup 62
                  Sucrose 64
                  Glucose 100
                  Glucose tablets 102
                  Maltodextrin 105
                  Maltose 105

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Yah except some agave nectar is only 50 or 60% fructose...

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      ok, now you're just being difficult.

                      even the products that are only 50% fructose have a GI comparable to that of honey, which is still lower than sucrose. plus, agave is up to 40 percent sweeter than table sugar, so you need a heck of a lot less of it to achieve the same level of sweetness.

                      any way you slice (spoon?) it, agave's gonna be lower. period.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Gotcah, point well taken. In my book, simple syrup works just fine.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          whew, you sure made me work for that one! ;) and yes, simple syrup does work just fine.

                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          When you say the agave syrup is sweeter than table sugar, how are you measuring them? One's a liquid, the other a solid. And if you make the sugar into a syrup, what are your proportions of water to sugar? Or are you somehow comparing them on a per calorie basis?

                          I have bought several bottles of agave from TJ. There's a certain convenience to being able to squirt a bit of a syrup on fruit or other dish that needs a hint of sweetening. But I fail to see the benefit of using it as a major cooking ingredient.

                          1. re: paulj

                            i'd like to know how this thread has now become "let's torture GHG about agave." *i* am not measuring them, scientists and manufacturers have done it. don't ask me how, i wasn't there.

                            consensus about replacing sugar with agave in a recipe dictates that you use 25-30% less agave (by volume) than the amount of sugar called for, and cut back on the liquids by about 1/3. basically, use 2/3 - 3/4 of agave - depending on the brand & variety (i.e. light vs dark) - to replace one cup of sugar.

                            regarding your comment about failing to see the benefit of using it as a major ingredient, that's your prerogative. some of us just prefer it to table sugar for various reasons.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              The reason, even compared to simple syrup, that agave syrup is sweeter is that fructose is generally regarded as being 1.73 times sweeter than sucrose (from wikipedia.) Though it gets even more complicated if you really want to nerd out cause there are two common forms of fructose, etc. etc.

                              Don't mean to harass you ghg. I just like being the curmudgeon. ;-)

                              Particularly when folks are paying $6 for agave nectar from Whole Foods when I make the same amount of simple syrup for $0.29.

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                Agave syrup is also completely vegan, while refined sugar is not always, just to put another agave plus out there.

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  i hear you on the price issue, though i never buy it at WFM unless their in-house brand is on sale. i use so much of it in my baking that i typically buy it in large jugs, which is definitely more economical. would it be cheaper for me to use sugar? absolutely, but then my baked goods wouldn't be diabetic-friendly, which is one of the primary reasons i use agave. i'm also convinced that it agave acts as a humectant, because all of my gluten-free products turn out unbelievably moist, and GF baked goods are notorious for being dry and unpleasantly crumbly.

                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                    I get Organic Agave at Ocean State for about $3:00 and because it's so sweet, a little goes a long way. TJs has it too for about the same price, IIRC.

                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Here's a recent blog article that is cautious about the benefits of agave syrup.
                            "Currently, we don’t have clinical studies as to agave’s safety in diabetes."


                            1. re: paulj

                              Sort of makes sense, because the claim that Agave has inulin carbohydrate may be true with agave itself, but inulin is not very sweet. If the inulin is converted into fructose and glucose, typically by heating, then you are right back with essentially having rather expensive sugar syrup that happens to be derived from agave instead of cane or sugar beets.


                              In fact, on this web site :

                              "To make the agave nectar, sap is extracted from the pina, filtered, and heated at a low temperature, which breaks down the carbohydrates into sugars."

                              So you have rather clever marketing to the Whole Foods crowd what is essentially sugar syrup. We all want to have our cake and eat it too, but if it is fructose and glucose, it's sugar, all wholesome marketing claims aside.

                              Finally, I find the claim that Agave nectar has a low glycemic index when compared to other sugars rather suspect. After all, it is just fructose and glucose. Fructose is sweeter then other sugars, but then so is high fructose corn syrup which is demonized by the "heathy foods" crowd.

                              My gut is that you have some clever marketing for a product that in the end is just sugar syrup which happens to be derived from agave as opposed to other sources.

                                1. re: nsenada

                                  It's what your body craves - haha!

                      2. Marty's in Allston carried it, so I'm guessing the surviving Marty's in Newton does.

                        Boston Shaker, the cocktail equipment and supply store inside Grand, may have it, too.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          Marty's in Newtonville does indeed have it. I believe it's in the tequila aisle and not with the grenadine/bitters/mixers.

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            I know this is late, but I don't get back to chow as often as I'd like.

                            We don't have it yet, but it's on my short-list of products to carry.

                            So much great cocktail stuff - so little time to acquire and space to carry it!