The name agave comes from the Greek word for 'noble.' Organic agave syrup (and tequila) is made from the sap from hearts (piñas) of the agave or maguey (pronounced 'mah-gay') plant. This plant is actually related to the lily and amaryllis (but it has its own genus, Agave). It is known as a succulent, and, although it shares a common habitat with many cacti, it is not one itself and has a different life cycle. A mature agave has leaves 5-8 feet tall, and is 7-12 feet in diameter. It has a lifespan of 8-15 years, depending on species, growing conditions and climate.
There are 136 species of agave in Mexico, of which the blue agave ― Agave tequilana weber azul ― is the only one allowed for use in tequila production and also the only agave used to make Essential Living Foods's Premium Agave Syrup. Blue agave is higher in fructose-producing carbohydrates than other types of agave and is considered to be the finest agave in the world. Several different species of agave are allowed for use in the production of mescal, an alcohol similar to, yet quite different than tequila. These other species of agave are also used to make most agave syrups, including Essential Living Foods's Standard Agave Syrups.
Organic agave syrup is a natural product that can sweeten any type of beverage or food. It is derived from the carbohydrates present in the agave plant through a totally natural thermic (heat) process with nochemicals involved. To produce organic agave syrup, juice is expressed from the core of the agave (the piña). The juice is then selected to become dark agave syrup or is filtered to create a light agave syrup.
The unfiltered dark liquid contains many minerals and retains a natural and unique flavor, with a slight hint of a vanilla-like
aroma. The light has the natural solids removed through a fine filtration process, creating a liquid that can be used in recipes that require a more neutral base that can be colored.
As with the creation of all agave syrups, the light and dark liquids are then heated, causing thermic hydrolysis which breaks down the carbohydrates into sugars. The main carbohydrate is a complex form of fructose called inulin or fructosan. The filtered juice is concentrated to a syrup-like liquid a little thinner than honey.
Fructose is a simple sugar found mainly in fruits and vegetables. Due to the predominance of fructose in Essential Living Foods's agave syrup, our organic agave syrup is much sweeter than sucrose but has the same caloric value as sucrose (table sugar). Thus, a smaller amount yields the same sweetness but fewer calories than sucrose. This gives agave syrup advantages in both the food industry and the health of the consumer.
Essential Living Foods procures organic agave syrup from both the Blue Agave (Premium Agave Syrup) and Salmiana, Green, Grey, Thorny, and Rainbow varieties (Standard Agave Syrup). Both of these grades are available as Dark and Light syrups. Essential Living Foods's Premium Organic Agave Syrups contain naturally higher concentrations of fructose than our Standard Syrups and other agave syrups on the market, a result of using our premium Blue Agave plants and precise processing techniques. Our farmers in Mexico use HPLC to make chromatographic studies on sugars, monitoring closely the mineral and sugar concentrations of our agave syrups – the best available in the market.