Agave (ah-GAH-vay) was cultivated for centuries by Native Americans for food, fiber and beverages. In Mexico’s arid central highlands agave nectar has been harvested from the blue agave plant, a succulent cactus best known as the plant used to make tequila.
The blue agave’s pineapple-shaped heart is covered with fleshy leaves that contain the sticky sweet syrup known as aguamiel or honey water south of the border.
Agave nectar has a low glycemic index (GI), the scale that ranks foods according to how they are metabolized in the body. Agave nectar is about 25 percent sweeter than table sugar, so a little goes a long way.
The agave plant contains saponins and fructans, phytochemicals shown to boost the immune system and which also have powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Research suggests that fructans stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine and increases the body’s absorption of minerals, including calcium and magnesium, which are necessary for bone growth.1
Agave nectar is a delicious sweetener that does not spike blood sugar the way sucrose from beet or cane sugar would or like glucose derived from corn. All these healthful benefits make agave nectar a great choice for health conscious consumers and especially for diabetics.
There has been some discussion recently linking some agave products to refined fructose. This is very disturbing because authentic agave products are not produced in this way. As with all products, it is important to choose those that are certified organic in order to avoid processing and chemical adulteration.
Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave has been a pantry staple in my kitchen for many years. At EXPO West Natural Products trade show this year, I picked up samples of their new flavored agaves and I have to say that they are pretty spectacular. I brought back the Maple, Cinnamon, Vanilla and Strawberry and was anxious to try them.
I especially like the organic strawberry agave and use it on pancakes, waffles and oatmeal in place of maple syrup. Not only is the strawberry syrup tastier and more interesting, with a GI of 11 compared to a GI of 54 to 68 for maple syrup, it is a much better choice for diabetics and health conscious consumers.
Cranberry Pancakes with Strawberry Syrup is a dish that comes together quickly and is absolutely delicious without any dairy or refined sugar. Try these scrumptious pancakes for breakfast or brunch.
Cranberry Pancakes with Strawberry Agave Syrup
Garnish these delicious pancakes with fresh fruit and top with luscious strawberry agave nectar.
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup whole grain yellow corn meal
1 1/2 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance)
3 cups plain soy milk
2 Tablespoons Organic Blue Agave
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries
Organic Strawberry Agave (Topping)
Place the flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl of food processor and process to mix. Add margarine and process to cut into fine crumb. Pour soymilk through feed tube while machine is on. Remove lid and add agave and vanilla. Process a minute or so, until blended. Pour batter into a 4-cup measuring cup or pitcher and stir in dried fruit: cranberries, blueberries or strawberries.
Spray a griddle pan lightly with olive oil spray and preheat pan. Pour batter into pan and flip the pancakes when bubbles appear.
Cranberry Pancakes with Strawberry Syrup
Nutrition Analysis: per serving: (about five – 3” pancakes with syrup)
Calories 311, Protein 6g, Carbohydrates 57g, Fiber 1g, Fat 8g,
Sat Fat 2g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Calcium 100 mg, Sodium 64mg.
Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV, Follow Marie on Twitter: http://twitter.com/vegtv
More from ecomii:
1. American Chemical Society (2010, March 23). Ingredient in tequila plant may fight osteoporosis and other diseases. ScienceDaily.