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Sun Star Organics Agave, Organic Light

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MSRP: $13.30
Price: From $11.97 to $63.00
Manufacturer: Sun Star Organics

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AGAVE NECTAR - 100% Pure Certified Organic

Organic Agave Syrup is an exciting new sweetener naturally extracted from the pineapple-shaped core of the Americana Agave (a cactus-like plant native to Mexico, best know for its use in making tequila).  A 70% fruit sugar content allows Agave nectar to absorb slowly into the body, decreasing the highs and lows associated with sugar intake.  Also, because fruit sugars are 25% sweeter than typical refined white sugar, you use less and save on calories.  Organic Agave Syrup dissolves easily and the taste is natural, making it the perfect sweetener to naturally enhance any food or beverage!

Organic Agave Syrup is 100% pure, certified organic, and kosher. Dark Agave Syrup is Raw. See the atricle below for a complete description of our Certified Organic Raw Agave Syrup.

Agave syrup (or nectar) has a low glycemic level and is a delicious, safe, and healthy alternative to table sugar. Unlike the crystalline form of fructose, which is refined primarily from corn, agave syrup is fructose in its natural form. This nectar does not contain processing chemicals. Even better, because fructose is sweeter than table sugar, less is needed in your recipes.  It can be most useful for people who are diabetic, have insulin resistance (Syndrome X), or are simply watching their carbohydrate intake.

Agave syrup dissolves easily in other liquids, making it easy to use.  Agave syrup is approximately 1.5 times sweeter than sugar or honey. In recipes, replace sugar or honey using 25% less agave syrup. There are thousands of recipes and foods that would be well complimented by agave syrup including beverages, sauces, salad dressings, smoothies, deserts, etc.  

Certified Organic Raw Agave Syrup
We supply a unique, specially processed agave syrup that we think is the "rawest" in the market today. What is raw? Raw foods are usually uncooked and preferably organic. Raw foods may be fresh, raw, sun-dried, dehydrated, fermented, soaked and sprouted. Raw foods diets can include vegetables, fruits, sprouts, grains, seeds, nuts, flowers, herbs, oils, sweeteners, spices, meat and fats.

The plants used for our agave syrup are grown in Southern Mexico, primarily in and around Oaxaca, a region known for its agave. Agave Americana (augustifolia) and Agave Mapisaga (var. mapisaga) are two of the agave plant species used in our product. The plants are grown in their natural habitat and allowed to flourish on their own. No herbicides or pesticides are ever used and only a natural fertilizer made from plant remains is used and spread at the base of the agave plant. The plants are occasionally watered at night during high temperatures to keep them from losing important fluids and nutrients. Agave plants have tiny pores that close during the day because of the heat. Closing the pores allows the plant to retain water. Hay is also used to cover the plants during extreme temperatures to shelter the plant from harmful elements. When the pores reopen in the evening, the plant takes in much needed carbon dioxide.                                                                                                  

Harvesting of the agave juice or nectar is done twice daily, once in the early morning when the sun is just rising and again in the early evening when the sun is setting. The nectar is best collected while retaining nutrients and while the plants pores remain as closed as possible. Planting of younger plants is also done during these early morning or later afternoon periods. Agave plants are grown and separated by age. The younger plants can be separated and replanted (cloning), allowing the parent to continue and flourish. This also helps keep older plants from taking nutrients from the younger plants.

At the age of 4 years or younger, the agave plant is castrated to keep the plant from flowering. Sugar levels are highest when the agave plant begins to flower because nutrients are being stored and increased for the plant to seed. However, seeds are never produced because of the castration to the plant. When the agave plant is allowed to seed, the flower can reach up to 2 meters in height. An agave plant reaches maturity at approximately 8 years of age. Most of the agave syrup in the market today is collected from plants 8 to 10 years of age. Our agave syrup is collected from plants 10 to 12 years of age. The older plants seem to be best for nectar output, quantity and handling. The average agave plant used for collecting our syrup reaches one meter in height and one meter in diameter. A single agave plant can yield up to 2,500 liters of syrup in a one-year or so period.

One must be extremely careful when coming into contact with the agave plant. Agave plants typically have long spine like leaves with needles along the edges. The plant can be harmful to the touch. The plant can produce a toxic liquid from the leaves that when in contact with human skin can cause burning and other irritations. This part of the plant should not be confused with the agave pineapple-shaped fruit, which is located in the center of the plant.

When harvesting our agave nectar, a small hole or gash is put into the fruit using a small tool called a coa-de jima or acocote. The agave nectar is then siphoned from the fruit. When the juice or nectar is depleted from the fruit, the fruit will begin to gather more juice. The juice can have a milky like substance from the agave plant that is later filtered out during the final processing of the syrup. The fruit is typically siphoned twice a day over a one+ year period until the fruit will yield no more juice.

When the exhausted agave fruit will produce no more juice, the fruit is removed and wrapped in a mesh cloth, smashed and pressed for any juice that the fruit may still contain. It is then made into a pulp and used as fertilizer for other agave plants. The agave plant itself can be cloned again. Seeds are allowed to form on some plants for planting purposes.      

The collected agave nectar or juice is then run through a number of mesh screens to remove and collect any plants fibers and to obtain clarity. Once our agave nectar is thoroughly filtered, it is poured into large stainless steel vats and slowly heated at low temperatures not to exceed 120 degrees F. The heating is done on traditional adobe style brick stoves located in large bamboo wood-style huts. The fire is fed with wood from an opening found outside the hut. This method prevents cross contamination. . If the agave syrup is allowed to be heated longer, a darker and stronger tasting syrup can be achieved. However, the taste can be too strong and alter the flavors of foods.                                                                           
Our agave syrup is periodically stirred and temperature monitored. This process allows excess water to evaporate and natural enzymes found in the agave syrup to slowly and naturally convert the syrups carbohydrates into fructose (sugars). This process can take well over 48 hours to complete. Our light agave syrup is then siphoned from the vat and pumped into 200 to 250 gallon tanks for transportation to the packing facility. In times of higher water content, the agave nectar may occasionally be run through a liquid vacuum evaporator. The heat that our agave syrup is exposed to is incidental as a result of this closely monitored vacuum process, which raises the temperature to an average range of 116 to 118 degrees F.

Other producers use higher temperatures and add enzymes (enzyme hydrolyses) to process agave syrup, which we do not. Our agave syrup is bulk packaged at an Organic Certified facility, which also packages many other products that use Organic Approved enzymes, which could incidentally come into contact with our product. If at all traceable, the levels would be less than 0.5% of the over all product. We follow the traditional Ancient Aztec / Mayans processing of the agave syrup as closely as possible. This allows us to keep the integrity of the finished product while also conforming to the National Organic Program (NOP).  

Our raw agave syrups fructose levels have a range of 67.2-69.7%. (Higher fructose levels can be obtained through further processing or heating). Once our agave syrup has been tested for its fructose and sucrose levels, it is then tested for microbial count. Once the levels are approved, our syrup is then packed into high-density plastic drums for shipping to our Certified Organic filling and packaging facility.                                                                                          

Our raw agave syrup is much like honey in many ways. In order to retain the raw aspect of our agave syrup, the plants are carefully controlled from the planting, fertilizing and collecting of the plants. Collected syrup is closely monitored for cross contamination and monitored for temperature. Because of the long, slow, low temperature heating and high fructose levels of the agave syrup, it has a very low microbial level like honey. Most agave syrup has a three-year shelf life. Because of the special and unique processing our raw agave syrup, we recommend a 2-year shelf life and to store it in a dry place at room temperature or refrigerate.            

Our raw agave syrup is processed, packaged and bottled only by approved facilities that are Certified Organic by Quality Assurance International, Inc. of San Diego, CA USA and it is also kosher. Because of the growing need for new farms, storage and packing plants, more facilities are currently working toward certification.  

*In recipes, use about 25% less of this nectar than you would use of table sugar. 3/4 cup of agave syrup should equal 1 cup of table sugar. For most recipes this rule works well.
*When substituting this sweetener in recipes, reduce your liquid slightly, sometimes as much as 1/3 less. Reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees.
*As a food exchange, a one-teaspoon serving of agave nectar equals a free food.  Two servings or two teaspoons equals 1/2 carbohydrate exchange.
*Our raw agave syrup has never been cooked or exposed to temperatures over 120 degrees F. Other manufacturers cook the syrup up to 149 degrees F or higher.
*Our raw agave syrup contains no added corn syrup, is 100% Vegan and Cruelty Free!

No part of this article may be reproduced without the prior written permission of Sun Star Organics, Inc., copyright 2004.

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