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Is Agave Edible?


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#1 Attilio_Bettega

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 06:08 AM

I have a question for the hardcore afficionados who were able to make tours, trips, single visits or other forays to the land of Jalisco as well as horticulturalists who might know a thing or two about agave in general.

Can you eat agave as you would eat a pineapple, watermelon, apple or other fruit? Or is it too big/hard/chunky/fibrous?

What is the actualy pina and its heart like?

Thanks in advance

#2 Ian Chadwick

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 07:05 AM

Yes, it's very edible and has been a staple in native diets since prehistoric times. Wild animals eat it, so do cattle (to the point where some cattle are threatening some species of wild agave - see fwie.fw.vt.edu/WWW/esis/lists/e702026.htm

On the tour we sampled cooked agave at several stops. It has a sweet, 'burnt-honey' flavour. We learned to eat it by stripping the flesh from the fibres rather than trying to chew the tought, stringy core. Agave fibres are so tough I suspect they'd remain whole until they exited you the next day.

Many agave are full of starches and carbohydrates, so they're good sources of nourishment.

Agave honey/nectar or aguamiel is a wonderful substitute for cane sugar in cooking, and a lot healthier than white (refined) sugars according to many sources including Friends of Animals:

Agave nectar has a consistency close to honey, but thinner and easily dissolved, something like a combination of maple syrup and honey. It’s high in fructose, or fruit sugar, so it naturally absorbs into the blood sugar at a much slower rate than other sweeteners, making it useful for many diabetics and people who are hypoglycemic. As it is a natural, unprocessed product, it retains vitamins and minerals that are absent from highly processed sweeteners. Lower in calories than sugar, and very low on the glycemic index, agave nectar is will not raise blood sugar levels as will other sweeteners, including honey and maple syrup.

There are some websites about eating agave:
www.shakeoffthesugar.net/article1042.html
www.primitiveways.com/yuccas_and_agaves.html
www.desert-tropicals.com/Articles/Agave/Part2.html which notes:

The chief source of nourishment is carbohydrate and sugar in the body of the plant and in the bases of the leaves, excluding the green parts, the content and consequent palatability increasing with increased maturity. Recent analysis of agave juice reveals a pH of 5-6 with a calorific value of approx. 300 per 100mls. There is a fructose content of 90-93%, also glucose, other reduced sugars and a minute iron content. Young flowering stems and also the flowers are quite edible and are prepared for eating by roasting or by boiling. There is also good evidence of agaves frequently being eaten raw.


There are some interesting references to prehistoric diets that included agave, evidenced by examining coprolites in digs (a rather specialized science I suppose):
www.scirpus.ca/dung/human.htm

There's even agave sweetened cereal out now:
www.newstarget.com/021108.html

#3 Wichie13

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 09:46 AM

That was one of the highlights of the trip was tasting the cooked agave, we couldn't get enough of it.
We now use agave nectar in Margs, coffee, cereal and pancakes and Laura makes a nice Glazed carrots with it. If you could buy it raw uncooked in the grociery store we probablly would and cook it ourselves. :t_up:

#4 anejospirit

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 11:40 AM

That was one of the highlights of the trip was tasting the cooked agave, we couldn't get enough of it.
We now use agave nectar in Margs, coffee, cereal and pancakes and Laura makes a nice Glazed carrots with it. If you could buy it raw uncooked in the grociery store we probablly would and cook it ourselves. :t_up:


I know, it is delicious plus once you try the cooked agave you can really taste it in the good tequilas.

#5 gabe

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 01:04 PM

Yes, cooked agave is really tasty. The agave we had at La Cofradia was fresh out of the oven, and still warm. Several fabricas gave us cooked agave to taste, but Cofradia's was the best.

I'm not so sure about raw agave. A pina is not unlike a giant potato in color and consistency, so maybe it tastes similar? Anyone had uncooked agave?

#6 Wichie13

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 02:32 PM

No Gabe, I meant to buy it and take it home throw it in the oven and cook it yourself, so its fresh. Not eat it raw, I don't think you could. :D

Correct me if I am wrong but I recall that the raw agave secreted something that was very acidic after being harvested and would case irritation on contact with exposed skin???????


I'm not so sure about raw agave. A pina is not unlike a giant potato in color and consistency, so maybe it tastes similar? Anyone had uncooked agave?



#7 Mike Morales

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 02:42 PM

Correct me if I am wrong but I recall that the raw agave secreted something that was very acidic after being harvested and would case irritation on contact with exposed skin???????


According to Lirubis, the sap secreted from freshly cut pencas can be acidic (harmful?) to skin. Not sure whether that applies to the piña itself once all the leaves have been severed.

#8 lirubis

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 03:15 PM

Correct me if I am wrong but I recall that the raw agave secreted something that was very acidic after being harvested and would case irritation on contact with exposed skin???????


According to Lirubis, the sap secreted from freshly cut pencas can be acidic (harmful?) to skin. Not sure whether that applies to the piña itself once all the leaves have been severed.


Fresh RAW agave heart tastes like....do you guys know JICAMAS? A bit like that. However, your lips and mouth will indeed get irritated, some people more than others, and it is not enjoyable. It is a very peculiar taste, though, and that same sensation can be felt in your tastebuds on really good blancos.