How to Make Stevia Extract

Homemade stevia, two ways. Today I’m going to show you all how to make both an extract (liquid form) and powdered form of stevia using your harvested and dried stevia plant or purchased all raw dried stevia leaves. I often recommend or suggest using stevia in several of my smoothies, sweet treats, or dessert recipes to add a bit of sweetness to them without using refined sugars. I get several questions about artificial sweeteners and where stevia fits into that equation, so today I’m going to share with you all what stevia I personally use… it’s homemade!

how-to-make-your-own-stevia-extract

As you all know, I’m not a fan of artificial ingredients especially sweeteners. Many of the artificial sweeteners out there (and even processed stevia) undergo many steps to become it’s final edible product. Many of these steps involve adding different chemicals, fillers, starches, glucose, “natural” flavors, chemicals such as acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, and isopropanol (several of which have been linked to causing cancer).

Not to single out or pick at Coca-Cola, but their brand of stevia called Truvia, goes through about 40 steps from plant to powdered stevia before the consumer can use it… 40! My Stevia Extract will take you about 5 steps, using nothing artificial and no fancy equipment. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather support my body by putting true all natural ingredients in it compared to something made by one of the biggest soda companies in the world with questionable ingredients… so let’s get started, I can’t wait to show you how easy this process is!

Below you’ll see a series of pictures, starting from the top is what the stevia plant looks like after it’s been dried. From the garden, I’ll harvest these raw in bunches like so, tie them with twine and hang them upside down to try in my kitchen window (I’ll show you more pictures of how I dry my own herbs for another post!).

stevia

The next picture below is what dried stevia leaves look like off the branch, you can see they’re long and a beautiful sage green color after they’re dried. The picture of the left is where I divide about 1 cup of dried stevia leaves into small mason jars, this is preparation for adding vodka to make this into a liquid extract. The picture on the bottom right is my powdered stevia version, I simple grind the dried stevia leaves in a mortar and pestle or you can feel free to use a spice grinder (that’s only 1 step!).

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Where to purchase your stevia plant. I purchased my stevia plant to grow in the garden from my local hardware shop or check your local health food stores when in season. To be honest, I wish I could say I have a huge green thumb and master all things gardening, but I digress, that’s something I’m still perfecting. Even with my lack of green thumb, I was able to grow stevia in copious amounts from one tiny plant! Before I knew it, at the end of summer I was out in the garden bundling up what would have been the equivalent of 10+ cups of stevia leaves- all of which I’ve made extracts or powders out of.

How to use |

  • Use stevia as you would any other sweetener
  • For powdered stevia, I find it best to use in smoothies (as the powder will combine with everything else). Putting powdered stevia in baked goods to taste will also work, although it doesn’t combine will in tea for example (it floats!).
  • For liquid stevia, this is best where you want the liquid to combine with another liquid for example in tea, coffee, juice, etc.
  • Check my stevia post on more ways to use.

how-to-make-your-own-stevia-extract6   stevia-extract

Stevia Extract
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A "recipe" for making your own homemade stevia liquid extract.
Author:
Ingredients
  • vodka
  • 1 cup stevia leaves, washed and dried
  • SUPPLIES // dark glass bottles
Instructions
  1. DRY //
  2. Dry stevia leaves in the sun or dehydrator for one day or 12 hours (respectively)
  3. Once dried, place whole leaves (don't crush up too much or else you'll have a hard time filtering out the leaves from the vodka), in a glass mason jar (preferably dark colored).
  4. Fill to cover the leaves with vodka.
  5. Steep at room temperature for at least 24 hours.
  6. Filter out the stevia leaves using a fine strainer.
  7. To remove the alcohol from the vodka, heat the extract on your stovetop in a pot for about 20 minutes (do not boil!).
  8. Simply use a funnel to pour stevia extract into small medicine dropper bottles or other bottles and keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  9. Enjoy!

TIP // read all about stevia here and also how other sweeteners impact our blood sugar levels and insulin in the body.

Even if you’re not up to making your own or you don’t have dried stevia leaves, a couple brands I still enjoy are from Trader Joes or SweetLeaf. I hope you all enjoyed this post, share below if you’ve ever made your own stevia! Share this post with a friend who uses artificial sweeteners!

Have a sweet day,

xx McKel

p.s. in other news, I have an interview with Be Good Organics live today, feel free to read more about me there- this was a fun interview!

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Great post McKel! I don’t use artificial sweeteners at all and hate that some brands of stevia are so processed. I use Sweet Leaf or NuNaturals but I would love to make my own!

    • Birdy says

      I’ve been making my own for a few years now. I buy a plant each year and bring it in for the winter, where it grows, albeit slowly, until spring. I was lucky to have found organic plants, so that was even better. Getting a nice collection now.

      I don’t dry my leaves before steeping. I just cut up the freshly picked, washed leaves and stems into small pieces, submerge them in grain alcohol which I read does a better job of breaking down the fibers to release more sweetness and leave in the fridge for a few days, stirring every once in awhile to rearrange the pieces for maximum exposure. Then I strain and heat so the alcohol evaporates. The alcohol does make it taste different if left in there. And it’s safer to know that the alcohol won’t affect children or others that shouldn’t have it. One needs to know that the resulting liquid is green, not the white or clear like the heavily processed stuff. Unless someone can tell me how to strain that out….
      I dry the leaves and smaller stems and grind them into a fine powder, which is wonderful in salads or
      anything else that calls for a little sweetness, but not liquids like coffee or tea. It does not dissolve.
      Both processes are very sweet. Use less and build up to the desired sweetness level.

  2. Åsa says

    Hi McKel,

    This was interesting to read. I’ve only bought stevia once, and it was the overly processed white powder, which I thought tasted quite awful and far too sweet (even though I only used a tiny bit). It also caused some significant digestive issues for me (which I’ve since read is not uncommon). So, first of all, I was wondering whether the taste of ‘natural’ stevia very different from the white processed stuff (such as Truvia) – does it still have that weird aftertaste, or is that from the other additives? (Basically, on the occasions when I had it, it left this lingering sweet taste in my mouth for hours, that made everything else taste sweet too) And secondly, do you know whether natural stevia prepared according to your instructions is still likely to cause digestive problems (for people who are generally prone to them), or is that, again, linked to the processed, commercialised variety? Sorry for the long comment, and thanks in advance!

    • says

      Hi Asa,
      It depends on your taste buds truthfully. We all taste “bitter” differently and some enjoy stevia and some don’t. The fresh and ground/extracts have a slight bitter taste, but I weigh the pros/cons of having all natural homemade vs store bought and I bear the bitter taste. Artificial sweeteners that contain sugar alcohols can irritate your digestion (i.e. gas, bloating, diarrhea).

    • says

      Stevia plants can usually be puurchased at most local nurseries. Have had mine tw year, and use it constantly. It is quite a bit sweeter thn Truvia, and not bitter. I steep the leaves, and strain, and refigerate. I also use it to make jams & jellies.

  3. says

    Stevia is usually my go-to when it comes to adding sweetness to recipes, although I still don’t like how processed it is. I try to stay away from artificial sweeteners and cut down on sugar whenever possible. I’m going to start keeping an eye out for a stevia plant so I can try making this!

  4. says

    Ahhh this is awesome! I will have to get myself a stevia plant. I admittedly use vegan raw sugar when baking and necessary. For smoothies I use dates and for drinks l like tea or whatnot, I use liquid stevia! Definitely getting a stevia plant this summer!

  5. Rebecca says

    I’ve never heard of heating an extract to remove the alcohol. Not doing that would make it last longer and be shelf stable, so I’m curious why you remove it?

    Also, while it does make an attractive picture, I don’t think it’s such a good idea to hang your herbs to dry on an old chipped paint wall due to the lead in old paint. It would be a minimal amount, but better to avoid any at all would be best for one’s health.

    • says

      Hi Rebecca,
      Good question. I choose to cook off the alcohol, with stevia you can still taste a bit of the alcohol if you skip this, it’s important to do this step to keep the flavor true to stevia and it keep well with this process. Also, I do not hang herbs to dry on old lead paint walls, this board is a photography backdrop for picture purposes only.

  6. says

    Thanks for the post. I planted 3 stevia plants for the first time and they are vigorous growers with very little work in my part (yeah!) I just filled the dehydrator and am gearing up for my first batch of extract. I made jam and jellies. Do you know if it’s possible and how to use the homemade extract or powder in jam recipes? I have z lot of customers ask fir sugar free, but I refuse to use those artificial sweeteners I find on the shelves. Thanks for any help or advice. Love your post!! I’ll be linking back to you. Thanks!

  7. Rebecca says

    Hi McKel. Not sure if you can answer this question but we grow our own stevia leaves and tried to make a liquid and powder extract from it. Is there a way to make it where the extract isn’t green? I buy the powdered version at my grocery store to put in my coffee and it’s white so I’m wondering if there’s some kind of process we can do to make it white.

    Thanks!
    Rebecca

    • Rebecca says

      Actually I just read up that the white colored ones I buy at the store are processed and isn’t good for you so I guess I have to stick to the green tint and limit what I can put it in. My boyfriend makes homemade limoncello and he wanted to use stevia instead of sugar but he was afraid it might turn his limoncello green which would not be very appealing. =)

    • says

      Hi Rebecca, I have no idea how to not make it green. I just roll with it knowing that it’s going to turn that color because it’s completely natural. If the color is very off putting, then you may just want to use a store bought extract and use sparingly.

  8. Lana says

    Hi! I really like the idea of growing my own stevia but know I won’t like the bitterness. I use stevia – mostly Stevia in the Raw. I also found an organic stevia @ Food Lion (I believe w/monk fruit as binder?). It’s really good but can’t get it @ Walmart though & it’s $4 a box…=( Is there anything I can do, when growing/using my own, to reduce bitterness?
    Thanks!

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