A tall cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day is one of life’s little pleasures that can’t be beat. Lemonade just has a more refreshing quality to it than fizzy soda pops. Most traditional recipes for a pitcher of lemonade, however, can have almost a whole cup of white sugar added or they use a simple syrup made from a cup of sugar heated and dissolved in a cup of water. Tasty? Yes! Healthy? Not so much.
Lately I’ve been trying agave nectar as a substitute sweetener for white sugar. I’ve been using it in my Homemade Iced Tea Recipe, substituting 1/4 to 1/3 cup of agave for 3/4 cup of sugar which has worked nicely.
What is Agave Nectar?
Agave nectar has been used as a sweetener for centuries and is derived from the Mexican Agave plant. In its fermented form, agave is made into tequila. In fact when Daughter saw my agave bottle sitting on the counter she jumped to the conclusion that I was making homemade tequila for the blog. She was a teeny bit disappointed to learn I was not being that adventurous (well, not yet anyway, give me time).
The reason agave is getting a new look in modern times is because it is low on the glycemic index which means your body won’t have the insulin spikes and crashes that often result from white sugar. Because agave is sweeter than white table sugar, you should be able to cut down the amount of sweetener used in recipes by at least 1/3, sometimes almost in half. You should be able to find agave in the baking aisle of your grocery store with the other sweeteners. It looks somewhat like honey, but is not as thick and syrupy.
Here are the proportions I used to make a pitcher of lemonade with agave.
(click here for printable recipe )
6 cups water
1 cup lemon juice (I used bottled)
2/3 cup agave
Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart pitcher and mix well. Serve chilled over ice. This makes a lemonade with a very smooth, mellow taste.
Sorry, it’s not frugal
So, here’s how we can sum up a pitcher of agave lemonade:
Quick and Easy? Indeed
Tasty? Sure was
Healthy? Most likely
Frugal? Sorry, no.
A 11.75 bottle of agave cost me $5.79. As you can see in this picture, I used up almost half my bottle for one pitcher of lemonade so this is not a recipe for penny pinching. But if you are looking for ways to eliminate white sugar for health or diabetic reasons, or if you are wary of artificial sweeteners, this recipe is a very nice alternative.
Stay tuned though! In the next post we’ll be looking at a beverage that is frugal – Infused Water!