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Stevia In The Raw

How to prepare stevia herb using stevia leaves

Did growing stevia work out well for you? Then making your own stevia herb is easy if you're using the stevia leaves correctly! After drying stevia and crunching the dried leaves, the herb is ready for you to sprinkle on your favorite food! Sounds sweet, huh?


Before drying, fully-grown stevia leaves are about two inches long and three quarters of an inch wide. They have blunt lobs and are covered in a fine white down. When chewing on a freshly cut leaf, the sweet taste of the stevia herb immediately becomes apparent.

To start, cut the leaves off the stevia plant by their stems. You can do this all year round, but for the fullest possible taste, a September harvest is generally recommended. Cut the plant all the way down to leave only a small part of the stems just above ground sticking out, allowing the stevia plant to grow back!

Once you have the leaves, if you want to save some time, you can dry them using your basic kitchen oven: 20 minutes on 140°F (60°C) should do the trick. There's no need to try and rush it, since temperature is of secondary importance when drying stevia leaves! One or two hours in a dehydrator on 100°F (40°C) might be better. Dehydrators are expensive, but if you have one in your kitchen already, that will get the job done just fine. But the absolute best (and natural) way to dry your stevia leaves is by using sunlight...

If you're looking to make liquid stevia extract, however, it's better to use fresh stevia leaves...

  • Golden rule #1

The more sunlight the plant is exposed to, the sweeter the taste will be! Granted, this process takes more time, but if you're patient, it will pay off in the end. Simply place the leaves in direct sunlight, make sure they are exposed to a sufficient amount of air flow, and they should be dry in less than a day. If you live in a somewhat colder climate, you can set the leaves to dry in a dry but airy room, and they will be fully dried after a few days.

  • Golden rule #2

Don't dry the leaves for too long, because the longer you dry them, the more of their sweet taste they will lose, and the more the stevioside levels will decrease! So how can you tell when the leaves are sufficiently dry? Human judgement reigns: depending on the drying method you're using, check the leaves every so often by gently rubbing them between your fingers. If they feel completely dry, and the stems break off easily, they are ready to go!


stevia herbWhen the leaves are dry, remove the stems because they do not contain the sweetness. Leaves only, people! Then simply grind the dried stevia leaves as small as you can using either your hands, or - if you want to avoid a sticky mess - mortar and pestle or a simple spice mill. You could even use a coffee grinder. Hmm, can you smell that sweetness already as you're pulverizing the leaves into delicious stevia herb?

You can now either use the fresh herb right away to sweeten the best stevia recipes, or you can store it in an airtight container in your spice rack for later use. The shelf life is excellent: stevia herb won't ferment or mould and can be stored for many years if so desired.

Don't want to go through the trouble of drying your own stevia leaves? There are plenty of options of acquiring some stevia herb online. It's perfect for sweetening both your dishes and your beverages.

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