July 5, 2013

How to Make Stevia Sweetener and Liquid

Of course this is assuming you are already growing Stevia. If not, it's an easy herb to grow. It is hardy in zones 9 and 10 and is grown as an annual otherwise. I grow mine in a big pot and winter it over in the cool greenhouse. It grows fast and likes moist soil and sunshine.

Harvest the leaves at any time but be sure to harvest them all in the fall before frost. I don't let mine bloom because it wants to go to seed after it blooms. Besides, cutting it makes it fuller with lots more leaves.

For Stevia liquid:

Cut the stems about 2/3 of the way down. This leaves room for the plant to grow more branches below where the cut.  I dry mine with the leaves still on the stems. you can dry them in the sun (cover with net to keep clean) or in a dehydrator. I put mine in my hot empty greenhouse. If you use a dehydrator, set it on 95 degrees and it will take about 24 hours to dry.

Strip the leaves from stems and grind in a coffee grinder or use a motor and pestle like I did.

To make the liquid stevia, dissolve 1/4 cup pure homegrown stevia powder with 1 cup hot filtered water.  Stir and leave out at room temperature for 24 hours.  After 24 hours strain the stevia out of the liquid and store the liquid stevia in the refrigerator. Tastes just like the expensive stuff you buy at the grocery! 

Some people use the leaves dried as a sweetener.  It works and is healthy (300 times sweeter than sugar). I personally don't care for the taste but you should try it for yourself. . 


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