DIY Stevia Extract
It’s no secret that added sugar isn’t good for you. The refined, white stuff is the worst of all, but brown sugar, honey, and similar “natural” sweeteners aren’t as healthy as you might think, either. They add lots of calories without much actual nutrition.
On the other hand, there are plenty of artificial, calorie-free sweeteners on the market. The problem here is that most are filled with harmful chemicals that cause more harm than good.
If you’re now thinking you’ve run out of options, read on…Stevia, the wonder plant, will cure your sugary cravings in the healthiest way! Stevia is a plant that has up to 150 times the sweetness of sugar. Here on the farm, we use a similar plant with many names, such as Aztec Stevia, Aztec Sweet Herb, Lipia Dulcis, Phyla Dulcis, or Orozuz.
You can use it fresh or dried, but the most potent method is to create a tincture. It’s quite simple and much cheaper than buying store-bought liquid stevia extract.
We tested it for the first time the other day and now want to pass along the recipe!
- The first step is to gather and dry your stevia leaves. This can be done in the sun, but is much quicker in a dehydrator.
- Next, you must soak the leaves in vodka. Place them in a clean jar, filling about 2/3 of the way. Pour in the vodka until it fills the remaining 1/3 of the jar.
- Let the mixture soak for between 24 and 36 hours.
- When it’s done, strain and simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes, making sure the mixture does not come to a boil. The goal of this process is to burn off the alcohol and thicken the extract.
- Let cool and store in airtight container. One serving is about 4-6 drops (equal to one sugar packet).
One thing to keep in mind with Stevia is that at times it can be bitter. For example, in coffee most find it to be terrible, but it’s usually great in tea or lemonade. It seems to heighten and exaggerate any bitter flavor in the food it’s applied to. Yet, works great for sour things. You’ll need to experiment to see how stevia works best for your recipes and palate.