Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Phase Three

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:-). Pin It

27 comments:

  1. Stevia cookbooks are on my Christmas wish list! :D I've been wanting to ask where you get your seed. I had a really hard time (couldn't) finding it the past two years.

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    Replies
    1. http://www.rareseeds.com/stevia/

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  2. How cool is that? I'm surprised it yielded so little in the end though...good thing you can ignore it! I wonder how long that amount will last? Any idea?

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  3. Michelles,
    I think we ordered our seed, but soon discovered how difficult it is to get them to germinate, so we had to buy plants- at a local garden center. The plants were in the herb section.

    I'm sure it will depend on how much we use it as to how long it will last. If you're just using it for sweetening drinks, it would go a long, long way.

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  4. thats really cool where did yopu get the plants for seads?

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  5. oh I see the answer you got them at a garden center thanks I guess I should read others comments first :)

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  6. Congratulations! Raising stevia is hard to do. I'm duly impressed.

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  7. I can't wait to hear about using it. The topic of sugar and HFCS came up the other day, and I thought of you and your stevia project. Thanks for sharing your findings with us!

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  8. Uh oh ... looks like you've got a little bit of water at the bottom of your jar. You might want to put your powder into another dry jar so your stevia doesn't spoil.

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    Replies
    1. That is the thickness of the glass jar you are looking at.

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  9. groovyghosthunter,
    I don't know how you found me, but you may have just saved my stevia harvest. Thank you.

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  10. That is really neat with your harvest. I bought dried stevia from mountainroseherbs and I am currently making a tincture out of it to use as a sweetener. I don't drink alcohol so I am making it with glycerin. It has been sitting on my counter for 2 weeks now. This was just another idea to make my own sweetener but I love your way too. Plus you grew your own. That is a lot better. Thank you for your blog. I am always inspired when I come here.

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  11. Herb grinders are often used to prepare spices and cooking herbs for culinary preparation. They are also used to prepare tobacco, as well as other legal herbs.

    herb grinder

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  12. How awesome! I buy and use expensive liquid stevia from Whole Foods. I can hardly wait to give this a go next Spring. Thanks for sharing your adventure here.

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  13. Thank you for sharing your experience! I love to try new ways to live w/o depending on grocery stores. I will have to try this next year.

    Deborah

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  14. What was your process for drying? Has anyone used the oven or dehydrator to do such?

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    1. A dehydrator should work set at 95. Should take less than 12 hours. Test them for doneness by allowing them to sit for 15 minutes to cool, and then dropping a few leaves on the counter and listening for the "ping" indicating crispness. If not completely dry, just dehydrate them for additional time. (I wouldn't overcrowd them or pile them too high on the dehydrator.) They will be ready to grind/process immediately. Diana

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  15. I've been growing my own Stevia for years. I have a jar of uncrushed leaves that I throw (just 1) into the bottom of my cup and allow to steap for a bit. It gets very sweet. If I'm drinking sweet tea, I put a few leaves in my tea jug overnight.

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  16. Can you use this to sweeten coffee? Would it dissolve in something like that? Thanks for the post!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, there. It doesn't dissolve but you could strain it out or use a loose tea ball to house it in (and then pull it out) :-).

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    2. Thanks for the info! Definitely interested in growing my own stevia for coffee. I use a french press so I could just put it in with the coffee. :)

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  17. Just finished making my Stevie powder and have some extract brewing. Tried it in my coffee after making a water surry, it does leave a 'green' tone that I did not like. Boo...but I did get almost a pint of powder from two big plants. Almost waited to long to harvest as the plants were flowering nicely. Am saving seeds for next year. I bought my plants at a nursery this year.

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  18. I'm trying growing Stevia from seed for the first time. They are currently sitting on my window sill and doing well. Germination from seed can be difficult. From the seed pack that I bought from rareseeds.com, Sweet Star Stevia, which contained approx. 15 seeds, I got 7 plants. I'm also planning on trying to get more plants from these through cuttings, which is supposed to work well. This is my first go at growing Stevia, and am excited to see the results. I've been told that you don't get the bitter, "artificial" taste like you do from most of the store bought stuff, so am looking forward to that!

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  19. I too grow stevia and have a suggestion, buy the stevia plants in the spring. Take cuttings! Root and grow. Works great -- many more plants -- little money.

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  20. I am wanting to grow stevia. Is this a plant that will come back year after year?

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    1. It did re-seed itself for me one year but it's not a perennial. Let it go to seed and you might have some volunteers the next year:-).

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  21. I had some that came back (zone 7). I was shocked! They did have several inches of wood chips on them. Waiting for cooler weather so I can harvest. Thanks for the article and your experience. Brenda in TX

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