The stevia plant has a naturally sweet flavor--20 to 30 times sweeter than sugar--giving this plant its other name: candyleaf, according to Washington State University. This sweet plant adds the flavor of sugar without the cavity-causing side effects of real sugar. Experiment with both dried and fresh stevia leaves to find the level of sweetness desired in your dishes, as many factors determine how sweet the stevia leaves taste after harvest.
Pick off the leaves only of the stevia plant, and lay them between two paper towels to create a drying rack.
Place the drying rack in the sun for several days until the leaves feel completely dry and crispy to the touch.
Grind the leaves with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until you have a fine stevia powder.
Use this stevia powder in recipes as a substitute sweetener for sugar, starting with 1 tsp. to replace 1 cup of sugar and increasing as desired. Adjust the amount to taste as sweetness depends on the time of year harvested, the variety of plant and the local growing conditions.
Alternatively, steep one or two fresh leaves in the hot water for your tea, and remove the leaves when you strain the tea or pull out the bag to sweeten a cup of tea.