Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana), also known as sweet leaf, is a South American perennial shrub, the leaves of which are used as a sweetener. Commercially, it is sold ready-to-use in a liquid or powder form. The stevia plant can be grown in warm climates or in pots and brought indoors in cooler climates. Cool autumn weather helps stevia increase the sweetness of its leaves, according to growers at Stevia.net, so waiting as late in the season as possible to harvest the plant is important. If you experience an early frost prior to harvesting, cover the plant to protect the leaves.
Cut the branches from the stevia plant. Depending upon the size of the plant, you may need to use pruning shears or scissors. Allow 4 inches of each branch to remain on the plant.
Strip the leaves from the stevia branches by either pulling them off or running your hand along the length of the branch to remove them.
Place the stevia leaves in a single layer on the screen and place it in full sun. Prop the screen on rocks or bricks to ensure adequate air circulation. It should take 12 hours to fully dry the leaves.
Place the fully-dried stevia leaves in the coffee or herb grinder and grind them to a fine powder.