Over the past few years, stevia leaf has become a favorite alternative to sugar and other highly caloric sweeteners. How cool is it that a tiny green leaf can offer such a powerful boost of sweetness and is also easy to use, versatile, and a great alternative to traditional sweeteners? With so many expensive and highly processed stevia products on the market, making your own extract as a dietary ingredient is the best way to go. Plus, you only need a few drops to sweeten up a recipe, so that means you'll have a good supply around if you make even a half pint of extract.
Native to South America, stevia has been used for centuries to sweeten all sorts of food and beverages and is believed to be one of the sweetest substances found in nature - rating 30 to 300 times sweeter than sugar! With no calories and very little bitter aftertaste (some compare it to licorice root), stevia is an excellent alternative sweetener to sugar for teas and other recipes. Interesting to note, most commercial stevia, which is a white crystalline powder, is actually a refined dried powdered extract of stevia - not the whole leaf.
With a light hand, you can add a pinch of the dried leaf to tea blends for a little hint of sweetness. You can also add a drop or two of extract to a cup of hot tea or experiment with using some in a pitcher of iced tea or in herbal popsicles. This is a nice option for kiddos looking for a sweet treat without the sugar high before bed.
Basic Stevia Extract Recipe
Fill a clean glass jar 1/4 to 1/3 full with stevia leaf. Cover the herb with vodka and pour to the very top. Allow to steep for 24-48 hours, taking care not to let it extract any longer than that to avoid bitterness. Strain and bottle in amber glass with a dropper.
Vanilla Stevia Extract Recipe
Orange Stevia Extract Recipe
Fill your jar 1/3 full with organic dried orange peel. Cover completely with strained stevia extract. Allow to infuse for 1 to 4 weeks, tasting along the way. Strain and bottle in amber glass with a dropper.
More flavors to try:
DISCLAIMER: For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Mountain Rose Herbs offers whole stevia leaf as a dietary supplement only and not for use as a conventional food.