Stevia is often referred to as candyleaf because of its sweet taste. According to Washington State University, one raw leaf used in tea is equivalent to adding two lumps of sugar and two dried tablespoonfuls of powdered stevia leaf are equivalent to 2 cups of refined sugar. The plant can be grown in the herb garden similarly to basil or mint, and like many herbs, it can be dried for use in winter months.
Harvest stevia herb stalks in fall just before the first frost. Warm days and cool nights will heighten the sweetness of the plant's leaves. The best time of day to harvest is in the early morning after dew has evaporated. Stevia will be highest in essential oils at this time.
Tie the stalks together in bundles by the lower end of the stems.
Hang the stevia stalks upside down in a dark, well-ventilated room to dry. Dry stevia leaves will turn darker green and be brittle to the touch.
Pluck the dried stevia leaves from the stems and place them in a mortar and pestle.
Crush the leaves to a fine powder. This powder can be placed into a shaker or a sugar bowl and used in the same way as sugar.