The Story of Organic Wild Salmiana Agave Syrup
01.26.2021 | Author: Global Organics | Category: Cane Sugar & Sweeteners, News
INTRODUCTION TO AGAVE
Over the last two decades, agave syrup has become a popular alternative to sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Its pleasant and mild flavor, thin consistency, and nutrient profile make it the perfect sweetener for a wide variety of applications. Agave syrup dissolves easily in liquid and is an ideal vegan alternative to honey.
Agave syrup is approximately 1.4x sweeter than sugar, so if you’re looking to remove sugar from your ingredients list, agave is a perfect solution. Unlike sugar and other sweeteners that have a high glucose content, agave instead has a higher fructose content, which gives it impressive sweetening power.
Agave is also low on the glycemic index scale (GI) compared to other sweeteners. When a low-GI food is consumed, the body is not triggered to produce an insulin response and the associated “sugar rush” that occurs with high-GI foods. Agave’s versatile attributes allow it to work remarkably well in frozen desserts, beverages, baked goods, smoothies, sauces, salad dressings, yogurts, bars, and granolas.
The agave plant has been used throughout history by indigenous people in Mexico. The leaves were used to create fibers and other materials such as paper, the thorns were used as tools, and the root was eaten. The juice, called “aguamiel” (honey water) was extracted and consumed raw, as well as fermented into a celebratory beverage called “pulque.” The aguamiel was also boiled to create a traditional form of agave syrup. Today, the blue agave plant is universally known for being the source of tequila. The functionality and sweetness of agave have been enjoyed for millennia.
ORIGINS OF ORGANIC WILD SALMIANA AGAVE
Our organic, non-GMO agave syrup is extracted from the salmiana agave plant (Agave salmiana). Our supply partner works with hundreds of farmers and indigenous people to grow the highest quality salmiana agave. They are one of only a handful of syrup producers in the world to harvest from the salmiana plant as opposed to the blue agave plant. It means our syrup supply is not impacted by the tequila industry’s demand for blue agave.
Our agave is grown in the remote mountainous area of central Mexico. The plants produce leaves that can reach an impressive six feet in length and sprawl out from the center, causing the plant to measure equally as much in width. They grow naturally and organically in the wild and require very minimal attention to thrive. No herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers are used. Our partner grows 105 hectares of certified organic agave following this process, with supply available throughout the entire year.
HOW OUR ORGANIC AGAVE SYRUP IS MADE
The mature salmiana agave plant is approximately double the size of a mature blue agave plant and has significant leaf biomass. In order to maximize the use of the plant, our supply partner harvests both the piña (base of the plant) and leaves for use in syrup production. This differs from blue agave syrup producers, who only harvest the piña.
Our supply partner has implemented innovative processing technologies and systems that result in greater efficiency and a superior product. The first step in processing the agave plant involves the extraction of the raw juice from the piña and leaves. Our partner’s process requires 80% less water and significantly less energy usage overall to operate compared to industry standard. The unique energy-efficient extraction process has been recognized by our organic certifier as a key environmental conservation effort. This effort is critical in a geographic region with scarce water resources.
Next, agave juice is filtered and heated to break down the complex chains of sugar molecules (fructans) into simple sugars. The product is then concentrated in a vacuum evaporator, resulting in a syrupy liquid. Subsequent clarification and filtration steps utilize organic-compliant and ecofriendly technology. These processes ensure consistent color, flavor, and chemical composition of the finished product. The result is our clean and sweet syrup with a Brix level of 75-77. Various grades are created based on the specific filtering process used, differing in color and taste. We offer 5 grades from light amber to dark amber.
SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS
Over the course of the past 20 years, our supply partner has helped marginalized, indigenous farmers commercialize their crops and achieve a better standard of living. They work only with grower organizations who meet their high standards and share their strong values of democracy and non-discrimination. They ensure that farmers receive a fair living wage and are committed to providing various forms of assistance to their farmers. Their social programs include:
- Assistance with harvest and operations
- Assistance with healthcare
- Housing improvement
- Education improvement
- Organic certification training
This support helps families in the region stay together and make a living, rather than having to seek work outside of their communities. In addition to our supply partner's commitment to social and community development, their sustainable processing systems help conserve the fragile local environment. The program includes:
- Minimal interference with the land
- Environmental education for employees
- Agave bagasse (fibrous material from the agave plant) used as fuel for the production plant, which helps to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions
- Efficient water drainage system for the production plant that connects to the municipal water treatment center
We are proud to offer a unique organic agave syrup that is sustainably grown and from a project that is having a positive impact on their environment and community. Now it’s your turn! Try a sample and create your next successful formulation.
To learn more about organic agave syrup and obtain a sample, please contact your Global Organics Account Manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org.