Blue Agave – A Distinct Type Of Agave Syrup

Blue agave thrives in high altitudes, favoring heights of more than 1, 500 meters as well as rich and sandy soils. The blue agave grows into a succulent plant with spiky fleshy leaves that can reach up to two meters in height. After around five years, the agave sprouts a shoot that can grow an additional five meters with yellow flowers blossoming at the top. Since blue agave dies after pollination, commercial growers cut off the blossoms to allow the core or the heart to grow further.

The Importance of the Blue Agave

Agave tequilana, more commonly referred to as blue agave, is a native of Jalisco, Mexico and is the main component for the alcoholic beverage tequila. Blue Agave and other types of agave are used extensively in the preparation of alcoholic beverages such as tequila and mescal because of the plant’s high sugar production. The high sugar content, mostly in the form of fructose, is found in the core of the plant. As a plant widely used in alcohol production, it is one of the most valuable commodities from Jalisco, Mexico.

The Extraction of the Agave Nectar and of the Agave Syrup

The heart of the blue agave is removed on the twelfth year of the plant. At this point, the heart is covered by leaves and is heavy with sugar;it weighs at most around 90 kilos. The heart is stripped of its leaves and is then heated to remove the sap. The sap is what is used to make the different alcoholic beverages such as the popular tequila, the local mescal, and the traditional pulque.

The sap from blue agave and other types of agave is what is used to make the agave syrup that is further processed into tequila and other alcoholic beverages. Agave Syrup consists primarily of fructose and glucose, with the former being the major component (~56-90%). Due to the high amounts of fructose found in the syrup, it is considered healthier than regular table sugar. However, consumption of the syrup in large amounts can still be dangerous for one’s health.

The Uses and Benefits of the Agave Syrup

Despite agave syrup being deemed healthier than regular table sugar, it is still sweeter -around 1.4 to 1.6 times sweeter than table sugar. Hence, the syrup can usually be found as a substitute for sugar or honey, and because the syrup is 100% derived from plants, it is the preferred alternative of Vegans for honey.

The appearance of agave syrup can be from light to dark amber, with the color depending on the process the syrup undergoes. The taste of the syrup also varies depending on its color. Lighter syrups have a more delicate flavor compared to darker syrups which have a more intense caramel flavor. The intense caramel flavor may be attributed to components of the syrup which have not been filtered out since lighter syrups undergo filtration before bottling while darker syrups do not.

A lot of hard work is done for the small agave plant to thrive into maturity and be fit for processing into tequila that everyone loves. The high sugar production of the plant, concentrated mostly in its core, is what makes it a valuable commodity for alcohol production. Agave Syrup is extracted from the core of the blue agave and this is used as-is, or is fermented and distilled to create the luscious beverage that everyone around the bar craves for.

Leave a Reply