The Many Uses of Agave
William H. Prescott wrote in 1843: But the miracle of nature was the great Mexican aloe, or maguey, whose clustering pyramids of flowers, towering above their dark coronals of leaves, were seen sprinkled over many a broad acre of the table-land. As we have already noticed its bruised leaves afforded a paste from which paper was manufactured, its juice was fermented into an intoxicating beverage, pulque, of which the natives, to this day, are extremely fond; its leaves further supplied an impenetrable thatch for the more humble dwellings; thread, of which coarse stuffs were made, and strong cords, were drawn from its tough and twisted fibers; pins and needles were made from the thorns at the extremity of its leaves; and the root, when properly cooked, was converted into a palatable and nutritious food. The agave, in short, was meat, drink, clothing, and writing materials for the Aztec! Surely, never did Nature enclose in so compact a form so many of the elements of human comfort and civilization!
There are four major parts of the agave that are edible: the flowers, the leaves, the stalks or basal rosettes, and the sap (in Spanish: aguamiel, meaning "honey water"). Agave nectar (also called agave syrup), a sweetener derived from the sap, is used as an alternative to sugar in cooking.
The sap of many species of Agave is used in Mexico and and especially Oaxaca Mexico to produce pulque, an alcoholic beverage. The flower shoot is cut out and the sap collected and subsequently fermented. By distillation, a spirit called mezcal is prepared.
Each agave plant will produce several pounds of edible flowers during its final season. The stalks when roasted are sweet and can be chewed like sugarcane. When dried out, the stalks can be used to make didgeridoos (a natural wooden trumpet or "drone pipe"). The leaves may be collected in winter and spring, when the plants are rich in sap, for eating. The leaves of several species also yield fiber.
The natives of Mexico used the agave to make pens, nails, and needles, as well as string to sew and make weavings. Leaf tea or tincture taken orally is used to treat constipation and excess gas. It is also used as a diuretic. Root tea or tincture is taken orally to treat arthritic joints. Several agave species are also considered to have potential as effective bioenergy crops. Agave's ability to grow in naturally water-limited environments could help to reduce the food vs fuel trade-off.
Yes 'For Everything (including Mezcal) there is Agave'.
Maguey may refer to various American plants:
Genus Agave, mescal; especially
Species Agave americana, century plant