Ketchup, Mustard, and Agave...

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I LOVE ketchup.  Traditional ketchups are loaded with sugar and I have a version using agave nectar that is much better for you but still tastes amazing!  I try to substitute salsa for ketchup to add variety and I also have been using more mustard in both cooking and as a condiment these days to add some additional health benefits and FLAVOR!

Mustard, Ketchup's closest ally at a BBQ has multiple health benefits!  Mustard seeds are a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as calcium, dietary fiber, iron, manganese, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, protein, selenium and zinc. Selenium is a nutrient that has been shown to help reduce asthma, arthritis and certain cancers. Magnesium also reduces asthma and lowers blood pressure. The effects of mustard are currently being studied for menopausal women and on migraine attacks.  Mustard has also been proven to speed up metabolism and stimulates digestion, increasing saliva as much as eight times more than normal!  That's good for more than just a hot dog at the ball park! 

Read below for a fantastic homemade ketchup recipe that I talked about on tonight's podcast!
Homemade Ketchup

3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp onion, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar

1.Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Ketchup can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in refrigerator in a sealed container for about 1 week.

Nutrients per 1-tsp serving: Calories: 5, Total Fat: 0 g, Sat. Fat: 0 g, Carbs: 2 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 0 g, Sodium: 25 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg.

Nutrient Note:
Don't discount this condiment.  Full of tomato goodness, it does have health benefits! One of the most well known tomato eating benefit is its Lycopene content. Lycopene is a vital anti-oxidant that helps in the fight against cancerous cell formation as well as other kinds of health complications and diseases. Using Agave nectar also reduces the sugar but contains the same sweetness ketchup lovers enjoy.

What is Agave Nectar??
Natural sweetener Agave Nectar:
While agave (pronounced ah-GAH-vay) is best recognized as the plant from which tequila is made, it has also been used for thousands of years as an ingredient in food.  The Aztecs prized the agave as a gift from the gods and used the liquid from its core to flavor foods and drinks. Now, due to increasing awareness of agave nectar's many beneficial properties, it is becoming the preferred sweetener of health conscious consumers, doctors, and natural foods cooks alike.
Though some purveyors offer a half dozen varieties of agave nectar based on different plant varieties and varied preparation methods, most brands offer two types: a light and a dark. The lighter syrups undergo less heating and a more thorough filtration to produce a more mildly flavored product that is neutral enough to be used in many culinary applications. The darker syrups are filtered less, and the solids left in the syrup make for a stronger nectar with a flavor sometimes compared to maple syrup.

Substituting Agave Nectar for Granulated Sugar

White Sugar
For each cup of white sugar replaced, use 2/3 of a cup of agave and reduce other liquids by 1/4 to 1/3 cup. This substitution will also work for Demerara Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, Evaporated Cane Juice, or Sucanat.

Brown Sugar
For each cup of white sugar replaced, use 2/3 of a cup of agave and reduce other liquids by 1/4 cup. Because the moisture content of Brown Sugar is higher than that of white sugar, liquids may not have to be reduced as much when substituting agave nectar.

Other Considerations
Agave syrup may cause baked items to brown more quickly, so reduce oven temperatures by 25°F is and increase baking time slightly.


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