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How to Use Stevia Plants

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How to Use Stevia Plants

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Overview

The stevia plant belongs to the sunflower family and is used as a natural alternative sweetener to sugar. The plant originates from South America and will grow in semi-arid areas. Stevia is a popular alternative to sugar for diabetics because it doesn't affect blood sugar levels. In the fall, you can harvest your homegrown stevia plants before they begin to blossom to use as your own homemade sweetener.

Step 1

Harvest your stevia by clipping your plant at 6 inches from the ground. Leave the remaining part of the plant so it can continue growing. Harvest your stevia in the early morning hours for best results.

Step 2

Make a small bundle of stevia, and secure it with a rubber-band. Hang your stevia in a warm and airy location to dry. Remove the dried leaves from their stems after a week, once they have fully dried.

Step 3

Fill your coffee grinder or blender half full of stevia leaves to make stevia powder. Blend your leaves on high until your leaves turn into a fine powder. This powder can be used as a substitute for sugar by using 1/8 tsp. of stevia for every 1 tsp. of sugar you would normally use. You can also make your stevia into a liquid sweetener.

Step 4

Stir 1 cup of warm water into 1/4 cup of your stevia powder to make a liquid sweetener. Set the mixture aside for one week, and then strain the leaves from the mixture.

Step 5

Mix 1/4 cup of whole dried leaves into the your liquid sweetener Let the leaves soak for another week, and then strain them from the mixture.

Step 6

Preserve your liquid sweetener by adding alcohol that is at least 80 proof strength. Use alcohol that has little odor or taste, such as vodka. Mix 1/3 cup of the alcohol into your liquid sweetener Use your liquid sweetener in tea or to make preserves.

Things You'll Need

  • Stevia plant
  • Rubber bands
  • Coffee grinder or blender
  • 80 proof or higher alcohol

References

  • Mountain Valley Growers: Sweet Herb of Paraguay
  • Stevia-Plan.comt: Conversion Table
  • Stevia.com: Growing Your Own Stevia

Who Can Help

  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture: The Cultivation of Stevia
  • USA Gardener: How to Grow Stevia
Keywords: stevia sweetener, natural sweetener, stevia leaves

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for over 15 years. Coe is the former publisher of the politics and art magazine Flesh from Ashes. She has worked to protect water and air quality. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University.