Make Your Own Liquid Stevia Extract

I’ve written a couple of articles so far about the wonderful plant called stevia or more properly,¬†Stevia rebaudiana.¬†It is easy to grow and it is fantastic for dieters and diabetics because it has no calories and no glucose. In fact, some studies suggest that it might actually lower insulin resistance of cells and reverse some of the problem with diabetes. It can easily take the place of refined sugar in your diet because the plant is about 600 times sweeter than sugar. It is potent stuff. Stevia can be purchased as an extract, either powdered or liquid. This can be cost prohibitive. It can be purchased in the store, for instance as products called “Stevia-in-the-Raw” and “Tuvia“. However, these have other non-glucose sugars added, such as erythritol or isomaltulose (corn sugar). Part of the reason is that stevia is so powerful that a teaspoon of powdered stevia has the same sweetening power of over a cup of refined sugar. The additives make it less likely that a person will use so much that it is bitter. Still, considering the amount of stevia in the package, this is also expansive. I recently priced a bag of Stevia-in-the-Raw that weighed less than a pound and the cost was $9.97. Naturally, your health is worth far more than this, so it is worth it. However, most of this was taken up by other sugars, so the amount of stevia in the bag was minimal. A person can also buy dried stevia leaves and Continue Reading →

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Stevia for Summer and Winter

There is little doubt that most people consume too much sugar, especially in industrialized nations. Table sugar is most often made from either sugar cane or sugar beets, however either way, by the time all of the refining is done, what is left has almost no nutritional value. It does have a lot of calories, but it is also in a form that is hard to digest. This isn’t good for people watching their weight, trying to lose weight, diabetics or pre-diabetics. This is also why stevia is important. There are other alternatives to sugar, such as sodium saccharin and apartame, but these are man-made chemicals. Saccharin also isn’t good for people who have heart difficulties or high blood pressure because of the sodium content. Apartame was originally developed as an ant poison, which means that it isn’t exactly the safest product to consume. Stevia is a plant, though, and it has no calories at all. The extract that is sold in stores is 100-600 times sweeter than sugar. Because of this, the extract is almost always blended with either dextrose or erythritol, when it is sold in stores. Otherwise, it could be overwhelmingly sweet. The pure extract can be purchased, though, such as online. Another way to do it is to is to grow your own stevia, grinding and using the leaves as a sweetener. It isn’t necessary to extract the sweetness and the fiber of the leaves cut the sweetness just a little, while adding bulk to the Continue Reading →

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How to be Successful When Growing Stevia

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a plant that has become well-known for its sweetness. It is now grown commercially and the sweetness is refined and sold as a sugar substitute. Right now, most of the stevia extract comes from China. The good news for gardeners is that it isn’t hard to grow and it will even flourish in a big pot. General stevia information The plant is native to South America. It is a perennial, but isn’t tolerant of bitter cold temperatures. Gardeners in the north are advised to either grow it in pots or dig it up and put it in a pot when the temperatures get very low. The sweetness comes from compounds known as steviol glycosides. The two most important are rebaudioside and stevioside. For a time, stevia was banned in the US because of health concerns, but the FDA lifted the ban in 2008, with Europe following suit three years later. The plant has actually been used by tribal people in South America for well over 1,500 years now. There is a good reason for this. Pure stevioside is 100 to 200 times sweeter than sugar, varying a little depending on growth factors. Using the leaves without refining doesn’t result in this level of sweetness, however they are still sweeter than sugar, even unrefined. Planting stevia Stevia needs rich soil that drains well. It also likes to have plenty of space, so they should be placed a foot and a half away from other plants in all Continue Reading →

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