Growing & Utilizing Stevia

Stevia is native to Paraguay. The stevia plant produces leaves that are packed with super sweet compounds that remain stable even after the leaves have been dried. Diabetics and dieters have turned to stevia to reduce their sugar intake.

To grow stevia...you need a well-drained bed or large container. Grow 3 to 5 plants for a year’s supply of sweetness. It can be started from seed or plants. Where climates have hot summers the stevia plant will benefit from afternoon shade. To maximize leaf production you must trim back the plants to induce branching. In most areas, you can harvest in midsummer and again in early fall.

Stevia Tea: Fill a metal tea ball with 1 rounded tablespoon of dried, lightly crushed leaves. Place in a clean pint canning jar, and cover with almost boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes before removing the stevia. Screw on the lid and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days. Yields: 2 cups that is equivalent to 2 cups sugar.

Stevia Extract: Bring 1 cup water to almost boiling and add 1/2 cup lightly crushed stevia leaves. Remove from heat, cover with lid, and steep 40 minutes. Strain through a coffee filter and pour into a dark colored container. Store in fridge 1-2 weeks. Yield: 3/4 cup equivalent to 3 cups sugar.

Stevia Tincture: Place 1/2 cup lightly crushed stevia leaves in a clean glass jar. Add 3/4 cup 100 proof vodka or rum. Screw on lid and shake. Place in a cool, dark place for 2 days. Shaking the jar 2x a day. Strain through cheesecloth and place liquid in a small saucepan. Heat on low until steam rises and maintain that temperature for 20 minutes. DO NOT BOIL. This creates a more concentrated tincture while removing most of the alchohol’s taste. Pour the cooled tincture into dark colored container. Store in fridge up to 3 months. Yield: 1/4 cup equivalent to 6 cups sugar.

  • Stevia Tea: 1 tsp. = 1 tsp. sugar, 1 T = 1 T sugar, 1/4 cup = 1/4 cup sugar                                          Top method for sweetening herbal teas and lemonade or for fruit.
  • Stevia Extract: 1 tsp. = 1 T sugar, 1 T = 1/4 cup sugar                                                                              Ideal way to sweeten sorbets, salad dressings, fruit muffins or berry syrups
  • Stevia Tincture: 3 drops = 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. = 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. =1/2 cup sugar         Best method for hot chocolate or pudding
    English: Stevia rebaudiana foliage

    English: Stevia rebaudiana foliage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Stevia leaf powder, with teaspoon

    Stevia leaf powder, with teaspoon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Lynn (@lisalombardo5)
    Jul 03, 2013 @ 13:55:24

    Thanks for sharing on the Independence Day Hop!

    Reply

  2. Nancy Kestin
    Jul 03, 2013 @ 18:39:16

    Thank you for the helpful Stevia article. I really appreciate the way you covered so many of my questions in such a compact article.

    Reply

  3. Mary @ Back to the Basics
    Jul 03, 2013 @ 19:52:34

    I love using stevia in recipes and tea. some of my loose tea already contains stevia leaf. Stopping by from the Independence Day Hop!
    Have a safe and freedom-filled 4th!

    Reply

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