Monday, September 10, 2012

Growing and processing Stevia

Two summers ago I found a Stevia plant at our local general store. I had been hearing that Stevia is a lot better for us and a lot sweeter than sugar. I'm not a fan of the man-made sugars, they seem to give me headaches. After doing a lot of research on Stevia, I bought one plant, separated it into 4 plants and planted it. At the end of summer, just when the plant started going to seed, I picked it. Last year I just dried the leaves of the Stevia plant, and gave some away. This year, I'm processing it for my use. So far I've cut the plants back to about 6", washed the leaves and hung it up out in the sun to dry. Next I picked the leaves off of the plant and placed them on my dehydrator to make sure they were completely dry. This took about 4 hours. Then, I ran my dried Stevia leaves through my Bella Cucina to grind them down into a fine powder. You can use a coffee grinder too.  I can keep the powder for a couple of years if I keep it in a glass jar. My next quest with the Stevia will be to see if I can make a syrup with the powdered leaves. I would like to use this in my baking and in my tea. Today, I made tea and put 2 Stevia leaves in my unsweetened tea. I will use 1 next time. It is almost too sweet for me.

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