- Evergreen shrub with soft green deeply veined leaves, that contains large amounts (up to 5% in dry weight) of stevioside - a sweetener estimated to be 300 times as sweet as sugar.
- It bears clusters of small white flowers in late summer, needs full sun and can grow up to more than 1m.
- Stevia is frost tender and dies back in cold areas - it will grow out again in spring.
- Stevia is a good container plant and will grow equally well in an indoor window garden.
- Dried leaves can be crushed / ground into a green powder that is about 10 to 20 times sweeter than sugar.
- Ground Stevia powder can be converted into a syrup by dissolving 1 teaspoon of the powder into 2 cups of water.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, lower the heat and simmer until it has been reduced to a slightly thick syrup.
- After the liquid cooled down, it can be poured into a small bottle and stored in the fridge.
- Stevia enhances the flavor of lemon, tomato and fruit, gives a creamier texture to homemade ice cream and remains stable when combined with acidic food.
- High temperatures does not destroy Stevia's sweetening properties.
- Use in hot dishes/ baked foods.
- Stevia's sweetness is more noticeable when used with neutral/mild flavored foods and is not as apparent in strong/bitter-tasting foods like coffee and cocoa.
- Pick leaves as required.
- Use fresh or dried.
- Non toxic - save for children.
- Natural sweetener for diabetics - lowers blood sugar levels.
- Weight loss - Stevia has no calories and can help to reduce caloric intake.
- Tooth decay - Stevia is not fermentable and cavity causing.
- Reduces blood pressure and increases elimination of sodium (diuretic).
- Promotes general good health and longivity.
- Treat the pancreas and has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and can be used topically on the skin to treat burns, wounds and athlete's foot.
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