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Eat Well Mar. 21. 2014
Condiments

How to Make Stevia Extract

Mar. 21. 2014
Condiments
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder and CEO

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!

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!).

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!).

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.

 

Stevia Extract
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Total time:
A “recipe” for making your own homemade stevia liquid extract.
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!

 

The Recipe

Serves

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Ingredients:

  • vodka
  • 1 cup stevia leaves, washed and dried
  • SUPPLIES // dark glass bottles

Directions:

  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!

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