Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stevia Harvest

Remember these little stevia plants?  There were 15.


They grew into these stevia plants over the summer, tolerating the dry conditions we experienced very well.


According to this website I've been gleaning information from, stevia should be harvested after the nights turn quite cold, but before a frost (although covering them during a frost is okay).  I was worried we wouldn't have them covered since our property often frosts when the local weather people predict it won't.



The stems of these plants were woody and I needed my pruning shears to cut them.  I then tied them in bunches and we hung them in the barn where they will be protected from frost, but still experience the cold (which is supposed to help set the sweetness) while they dry.


Once the leaves have dried, we'll move on to the next step of preparing the stevia leaves for use as a sugar substitute.  Stay tuned!


 Does anyone local have a coffee or herb grinder I can borrow? Pin It

15 comments:

  1. Gosh, your stevia plants look healthy! I'll be eagerly watching the process as it goes on. Will you crush the dried leaves and use it that way? The only form of stevia I've used is as a liquid. Guess I don't know enough about it.

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  2. Mama Pea,
    Yes. We intend to grind the leaves into a powder once they've dried. You reminded me that I wanted to add a plea at the end of my post. Thanks!

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  3. What a fun and cool experiment! I pray it works...one more step toward independence!!

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  4. If you borrow a used coffee grinder that's been used for grinding coffee, make sure you clean it well or your stevia will taste like coffee. If you use slices of white bread, broken up into pieces and run it through the grinder it should take care of coffee grinds and help sop up any oily residue. I'm excited to read more about your project, we use stevia a lot and I'm interested to try and grow it next year.

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  5. I've read that raw white rice also works to clean out a coffee grinder---just grind it up and you're done!

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  6. Wow, awesome! Wonder if I can grow it in northern NY?

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  7. I've not grown stevia yet (I order mine from Mountain Rose Herbs on the west coast) but we use it alot!! I would suggest leaving some in crushed leaf form and not powdering all of it if you plan to use it for sweetening teas/liquid food. It doesn't dissolve as sugar/honey does so it leaves sludge in the bottom which kinda grosses me out (personally.) For hot tea, I just add the stevia leaves in with the other herbs to steep. Now, for granola & baking...powdered stevia all the way! I use your "grandma's granola" recipe (with whichever of the ingred. I have on the shelf at the time, plus add 1 T of stevia. I used to add 1/4 c. of brown sugar before realizing I could use up my powdered stevia that I had originally purchased to use as a sugar substitute...now,I actually buy powdered stevia for baking. It alters the taste of stuff...not necessarily in a bad way, just a different kind of sweet, similar to the difference in sweetness of honey vs. white/brown sugar.

    I look forward to future posts about your stevia journey! We might embark on growing our own next year!!!

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  8. Will be sure to stay tuned. I have stevia drying right now, and some still left outside to harvest. Indeed, the stems are woody.

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  9. I can't wait to see the rest of the process. And, I'm curious about how much stevia powder you use in relation to the amount of sugar a recipe calls for. Do you have to alter the recipe in any other way?

    Oh, and I came across this quote in Wikipedia, "Possible treatment of osteoporosis has been suggested by the patent application claim that eggshell breakage can be reduced by 75% by adding a small percentage of stevia leaf powder to chicken feed." I'm just curious if you've tried adding it to your chicken feed & if you've seen any difference. We also have chickens & I'm always looking for info like this.

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  10. Heather and JJ,
    Thanks for the grinder tips!

    Renee,
    The website we've been referring to (http://www.stevia.net/growingstevia.htm) says you can grow it as far north as southern Canada.

    Christy,
    Thanks for the great info. on how you use it, including the tip regarding reserving some of the crushed leaves for hot drinks. And now I know how to use it in our granola!

    Karen,
    I've found substitution charts on line before that show how much powdered stevia to use in place of other sweeteners. I plan on going hunting for those tables again when I'm ready. And I have never heard of feeding stevia to your chickens to help with egg shells! Fascinating! Did it say whether it helps women bones?

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  11. This is awesome! I can't wait to read about your next steps in this process.

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  12. Now that's a very nice stevia harvest, I am looking forward to hearing how you incorporate it into your food stuffs. I think we will give it another try next year.

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  13. Did you find a coffee grinder yet? We have one if you need it.

    Bec

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  14. Thy Hand, I think there was the assumption that there could be a correlation between stevia strenghtening the shell of eggs & strengthening our bone mass. But, it didn't sound like there was really any research to support that. Interesting concept though!

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  15. I recently went to the farm of the stevia leaves and saw the process of cutting, drying and manufacturing pills and powder over there.
    sugar substitutes for diabetics

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