I have been asked several times in the last few months what Agave was, what you use it for, how does it taste and most of all: is it safe for diabetics?
I use Agave and have for the last year and a half. But, like many people I was skeptical at first. Was it just another product on the market that ‘everyone’ was using but really didn’t know about it? I had been drinking it for the last few years in cocktails and in my iced tea but could I bake with it?
The brand I have been using the most is Agave in the Raw . This product is 100% organic, delicious and naturally occurring. It comes from the Blue Agave plant that is native to Mexico.
It is 25% sweeter than refined white sugar so a little bit goes a long way. Agave is naturally a low glycemic food, which means it doesn’t cause the rapid spikes in blood sugar caused by refined white sugar and many other sweeteners. So, many see it as a healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners with sugar alcohols.
Now I am not saying I never use white sugar. I do. I also sweeten with honey, brown sugar and occasionally Stevia. A favorite of mine is Stevia in the Raw. I generally cook/bake and determine what is right for that particular recipe. I have made a conscious choice over the years to decrease the amount of refined sugars we take in and I truthfully admit that it has not been a hard adjustment. It is not like I noticed a difference in my morning coffee or in iced tea. Agave is a liquid and blends easily in hot or cold drinks.
It is a good alternative to sugar in baked recipes because of it’s ability to brown and make baked goods moist. Here are a few other tid-bits you may want to know: It is vegan, it is (this brand) 100 % organic, it is gluten-free, it is Kosher, it has a long shelf life and it has a very low GI (Glycemic Index) of about 30. Anything less than 50 is considered low.
Like all things I believe in moderation. I am not saying you all need to go out and buy a bottle at your local grocery (it is readily available in most markets nation wide) I am just saying this is a great healthy option available. There are just some things you need sugar for. I can’t imagine making caramel with anything else. BUT, there are just some things my family loves that I use Agave in. Hot drinks, oatmeal, pancakes (to sweeten batter), smoothies, muffins and bread, etc.
The first and best resource you can use to answer your questions about Agave would be the companies website: Agave in the Raw.
That is where I found this super awesome recipe for the most moist and flavorful banana bread I have made in a very long time. It was gone in 1 day and we liked it so much I made 2 more loaves. 1 for my husband to take to work and another for me to share at work. It didn’t last long!
Moist Agave in the Raw Banana Bread
2 large eggs
1 1/2 C mashed very ripe bananas (about 3-4)
1/3 grapeseed oil or canola oil
3/4 C Agave in the Raw
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 C whole-wheat flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C walnuts, optional, added at the end of the batter before baking. We are mostly nut-free here due to allergies.
Preheat the oven to 325 and lightly spray or butter a bread pan.
In a large bowl beat the eggs lightly then add the bananas, oil, agave and vanilla. Whisk to combine. In another bowl combine all of the dry ingredients. Add this to the wet ingredients until just moistened. Add in nuts if desired. Pour into your pan and bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
**Tips: the banana bread tastes better (in my opinion) if you wrap the cooled loaf in plastic and allow to sit for several hours at room temperature…allowing it to mellow a bit.
Also, measure the oil in the measuring cup first to allow the Agave to be easier to pour. Just think about it….
This can be found at: