I’ve been making my own stevia sweetener for several years
Stevia is a wonderful little plant that tastes a thousand times sweeter than sugar. To say a little goes a long way is an understatement. I purchased another plant in the spring and planted it in my herb garden. This is an annual plant, so it will not come back next spring. I harvest my plant in the fall, as the cooler temperatures make the stevia sweeter and best for harvesting.
Once I have clipped the stems I bring the clippings inside and wash them. I then take the leaves off the stems and discard the stems. I have several bottles of stevia from last year, so this year I am going to make powdered stevia. Then, I placed the leaves in my dehydrator and set the temperature for 95º and dehydrated them for 12 hours. Once completely dried out, I place them in my coffee grinder to make the powder. I store them in a mason jar, with a cracker inside to absorb any moisture and to prevent molding.
If you would like to make the liquid stevia (as I have made in the past) it is a simple process
Many will suggest you take a 1/4 cup of powdered stevia and mix it with 1 cup of boiling water, creating a very dark green liquid stevia. This will tint the food that you use it in green. I’ve found making it the way I have outlined below, you lose the deep green coloring and preserve the flavor.
- Fill a pan with stevia and cover the plant with water.
- Bring that to a boil, then turn off the stove and cover the pan with a lid.
- Let it steep for approximately 30 minutes until it is cool.
- Strain the liquid off into a pitcher. Re-strain as often as needed to get the clear liquid you would like.
- Pour the clear stevia liquid into bottles (reused if possible) that have a dropper
Nutritionally, stevia leaves contain vitamin C and A, rutin, zinc, magnesium, and iron. The stevia leaf is also rich in antioxidants and a particular enzyme present in the leaf, called superoxide dismutase, is being researched for a possible prevention of cancer growth. If you are familiar with this sweetener, then you are aware of the benefits it has for diabetics. Stevia is a low carb, low sugar, and a low-calorie sugar alternative. The steviol glycosides are not metabolized by the body and are excreted in the urine without getting accumulated in the body, thus making this a preferred sugar substitute by many people battling diabetes.
If you are using or want to switch stevia, the converting of recipes from sugar to stevia is rather simple. Like most things, it is by trial and error or personal taste. Once you have converted a recipe to taste the way you like it, I always recommend you mark it on the recipe for future use. Making your own homemade stevia powder or liquid is less expensive than purchasing it from your local organic store and it is easy to make. I look forward to hearing how you like homemade stevia.