Agave nectar, or more accurately agave syrup, is a sweetener produced by several species of the agave plant.
Agave contains less glucose than table sugar and therefore has a lower glycemic index. This makes it a healthier alternative to sugar, while still being a natural sweetener.
Perhaps you have bought a bottle of agave nectar and are wondering how long it will last. Or, if you have found a bottle that’s been at the back of the cupboard for who knows how long, you may be wondering if it’s still safe to eat.
Bottom line: Agave nectar lasts almost indefinitely. However, all foods can spoil, so read on to find out how to store agave syrup properly and what signs of spoilage to look out for.
Is Agave Nectar Good For You?
Compared to ordinary table sugar and honey, agave nectar is very low in glucose. This means it has a low glycemic index, and will not cause spikes in your blood sugar levels. Agave nectar will thus help you avoid weight gain, and keep insulin and blood sugar levels stable.
Agave nectar is also about 1.5 times sweeter than table sugar, meaning you can use less of it to obtain the same effect.
However, the main sweetening element in agave nectar is fructose – the same thing that makes fruit sweet. High levels of fructose are harmful, as the liver is the only organ in the body that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts.
The bottom line is that agave nectar is a good, low GI alternative to table sugar, but don’t consume it in large amounts. A spoonful in coffee or drizzle on yogurt is fine. It’s also a good idea to check different agave nectar brands and go for whatever has the least fructose.
The good news is that you can keep agave nectar in your pantry or kitchen cabinet for a very long time without it going bad. This means you don’t have to worry about consuming it quickly after you buy a bottle.
Shelf Life Of Agave Nectar
Most bottles or jars of agave nectar come with a best before date. This date is a good indication of when the agave nectar may begin to deteriorate in quality. However, it is still likely to be safe to eat well beyond the best before date.
This is especially true of unopened bottles of agave nectar. Like honey, it will keep almost indefinitely before it has been opened and exposed to oxygen. Even after opening, agave nectar is likely to be safe to eat for around three years.
It’s important to note that there is a difference between deterioration in quality and spoiling in food. Agave nectar is still likely to be safe to eat for up to three years after opening, but it may not taste exactly the same as it did when it was fresh.
Another benefit of agave syrup is that unlike honey, it does not usually crystallize over time. Because it is high in purity and stable in composition, it will remain smooth and runny for as long as you want to use it.
Proper Storage Of Agave Nectar
Agave nectar has a very long shelf life, so it is not necessary to freeze or refrigerate it. It keeps well in the pantry or kitchen cupboard. In fact, if agave nectar gets too cold it becomes difficult to pour, so storing it in the fridge is probably not a great idea.
That said, it’s best to keep agave in a dry place, away from sunlight and any sources of heat. A kitchen cabinet works fine, but maybe not one that is right next to the oven. In addition, keep your agave in a sealed container, and don’t let contaminants get in.
Is This Agave Nectar Still Good?
Although agave nectar can last a very long time, there is always a possibility of spoilage. So if your agave nectar has been sitting in the cupboard for years and years, it’s best to check it before consuming it.
Before opening the bottle, check for any signs of mold, contaminants, or discoloration. If it looks fine, open it and smell it. If it smells okay, give it a little taste. If you have any doubts, the safest bet is to throw it away.
Humans are very good at detecting spoilage by smell and taste, so trust your gut. If it smells and tastes okay, it probably is.
Remember that it may not taste exactly the same as when you first bought it. But if there is any very strange or bad smell or taste, throw it out.
In Summary: Agave Nectar
- If left unopened, agave nectar can last almost indefinitely.
- Even after opening, agave nectar is likely to be safe to eat for another three years.
- The quality of agave nectar may begin to deteriorate after the best before date, but even if it tastes a bit different it can still be safe to eat.
- Keep your agave nectar in a dark, dry place, away from sources of heat.
- If your bottle of agave nectar is several years old, check for signs of spoilage like mold, discoloration, or a bad smell or taste.
Agave nectar is a good alternative to table sugar, with a much lower glycemic index. It is, however, very high in fructose, so it’s not a good idea to eat too much of it. Agave remains safe to eat for a very long time though, so it’s easy to keep a bottle for years and just consume a little at a time.