Phase One was planting and growing the stevia.
Phase Two was harvesting and drying the stevia.
Phase Three entailed stripping the leaves and pulverizing said leaves in my Kitchen Aid blender. I had read that an herb grinder or coffee grinder works best. I even had a friend's permission to borrow her coffee grinder. But I thought I'd go ahead and try what I had on hand- my blender. It worked well. Probably not quite as well as a grinder would have, but I have no regrets.
I dumped the contents of the pulverized leaves from the blender into my fine sieve to catch any bigger pieces, then I put those back into the blender. Overall, the result was a very fine powder (that I enjoyed inhaling and tasting each time I took the blender lid off) of stevia.
So far, I've only been using it in tea. Less than an 1/8 of a teaspoon is plenty for a full mug of tea. Stevia is potent. I did find that using a tea strainer caught slightly larger granules. While the sweetness of the stevia clearly permeated the tea, it likes to hang out on top of the water/tea. I wasn't expecting it to float around up there, but it didn't cause any trouble, so I didn't mind.
Would you like to know how much stevia powder I ended up with after drying these 15 large plants?
One and 1/3 quart. Yep, that's it. It's good this stuff is potent.
Phase Four: Learning how to bake with it. Look for the results of this phase sometime after my Christmas break. According to my source, "You can also make your own liquid stevia extract by adding a cup of warm water to 1/4 cup of fresh, finely-crushed stevia leaves. This mixture should set for 24 hours and then be refrigerated." I haven't tried this yet, but may, depending on the recipes I find.
Until then, go ahead and add stevia to your garden plans for next year. Any crop that you can plant in the spring and then pretty much ignore until the fall, hang to dry and spend only a couple hours processing is a keeper in my book. A huge, added bonus is that this stuff is SWEET:-).