Maguey Sap Sweetens Your Dishes

A new sweetener worth being picky for

It might seem silly to split hairs over sweeteners.

Yet sweeteners are one of the more debated topics in the food world–thanks mostly to one politicized kind: corn syrup.

Having already devoted shelf space to honey and the rising star sorghum, our latest sugar rush is coming from Villa de Patos's organic maguey sap ($13).

A cousin of agave syrup, it is also harvested from the agave plant, aka maguey. But though agave syrup is made by processing the plant's heart, Villa de Patos's product is made of the sap found in the flower, which is concentrated through a gentle process of low-heat evaporation.

The sap's hands-off production method allows the distinct flavor of the plant to linger beyond its sweet notes. An initial push of sugar quickly subsides into a nuanced malty dryness with a nearly chalky, rootlike finish.

Use it to administer your vegetables' last rites before sticking them in the oven to roast. We slicked some carrots with the sap and a bit of toasted cumin before cooking them to delicate richness. Paired with a bit of tangy crème fraîche or cottage cheese, they were a work-worthy lunch.