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How to make your own liquid stevia extract

Making liquid stevia extract yourself can be a fun experiment, and a great addition to preparing your favorite sugar free recipes! And, like most things, it's not so hard if you follow the steps correctly, and if you make sure that you are well prepared beforehand.

 

Together, let's go over the things you will need:

* 1 large sterilized glass jar with lid
* 1 opaque large sterilized glass bottle with cap (we'll talk about sterilizing in a moment)
* Fresh stevia leaves (although you can also use dried leaves, please read tips at the bottom)
* Vodka
* Funnel
* Cheesecloth (or a coffee filter) for sieving
* Saucepan

The first thing to do on your way to making your own stevia extract, is to sterilize your jars and lids, by first rinsing them thoroughly in hot water to clean them, removing any labels in the process. When you're done, put the wet jars and lids upside down into the oven (300°F/150°C) for about 10 minutes until they are dry.

Stevia extractAfter buying dried stevia leaves - or, preferably, growing your own stevia plants and using fresh leaves - remove the brown parts and the stems and crack or tear up the leaves. Always keep in mind that only the leaves contain glycosides (stevia's sweet elements), so don't waste your time on the other parts.

Put the stevia herb in one of the sterilized jars, filling it all the way up to the rim. Pour over the vodka until the jar is full and all of the leaves are saturated - the alcohol in the vodka is going to extract the glycosides from the leaves. 

Twist the lid onto the jar and put it in a cool and dry place, letting it steep for about 36 hours. For the best results, don't let the leaves steep for longer than that because the longer you let them soak, the more bitterness will be extracted... We're going for sweet stevia extract, after all! Shake the jars gently from time to time.

When the time is up, put the funnel in the opening of your sterilized bottle and cover the funnel with a piece of cheesecloth or with a coffee filter. Gently pour the contents of the jar in the funnel, and let the extract - it should be a brownish color - slip through to the bottle below. Continue pouring until all the liquid is transferred from the jar to the bottle and at the end, gently press the pulp down that's left behind in the funnel in order to extract the final drops.

When you have collected all of the tincture, transfer it into a saucepan. Heat the liquid over a low fire, making sure that it never gets to a boiling point! If your liquid starts to boil, it will scald the glycosides and your extract will be ruined. The alcohol in the vodka will evaporate pretty quickly, and you will be left with a syrupy brown liquid. The longer you heat the mixture, the thicker it will become. Generally the heating time should be somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes. 

If your stevia tincture is too thick, you can dilute it by adding some water to it and stirring well; this dissolves some of the steviosides. Transfer the extract to an opaque bottle with a tightly screwed on cap. Shelf life is about three months in the fridge. Congratulations! You've just made your first batch of stevia extract!

 

Tip #1: always label your jars and bottles and write down today's date on them. That way you'll never have to doubt the remaining shelf life of your stevia extract!

Tip #2: the bottle you use to store your stevia tincture in should be opaque. If not, the quality of your extract will deteriorate rapidly if it is exposed to sunlight.

Tip #3: you should preferably use fresh stevia leaves to make the extract. You can use dried stevia leaves too, of course, but then your end product will turn out more bitter.

 



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