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How To Make Stevia Extract

>23 July 2013
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How To Make Stevia Extract

Today I spent some time experimenting with my Stevia. I finally have enough leaves on the plant this year to do some playing around. I’ve been wanting to learn to use fresh Stevia to sweeten a good part of my baked goods and teas, so I harvested about 2/3 of my plants and got busy in the kitchen.

It has been quite rainy here, which you would think would clean the plants, but since I don’t have much mulch around the base of my Stevia the mud splashed up off the ground and got the undersides of the lower leaves on the plant dirty. So, my first order of business was to wash the freshly picked Stevia.

 

How To Make Stevia Extract

To do this I filled my sink with cold water, and swished the leaves around in it. I then drained the dirty water out and filled the sink for one more rinse.

How To Make Stevia Extract

Next, I discarded the stems, and spun the leaves in a salad spinner to remove the excess water. You’ll want to pick out any dead or bad looking leaves. Some of my leaves had brown spots on them, but if they weren’t too bad I kept them in with the rest.

 

How to make Stevia Extract

In a medium sized pot, get 2 cups of water almost to a boil. Be sure not to bring it to a full boil, as this can damage the Stevia. Add 1 cup of slightly bruised leaves (they will probably be bruised already from the washing and spinning if you go through those steps), and remove the pot from the heat. Cover, and allow to steep for about an hour.

Homemade Stevia Extract

Using a coffee filter, strain the liquid into a clean container. It’ll be a nice, greenish color. Store your Stevia extract in a glass container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It’s recommended that you store the extract in a dark container, but I didn’t have one so I put my jar in a brown paper bag instead.

Before putting my finished product up, we all tasted a sample of it. Whew, was it SWEET!

I’m anxious to use my extract in some new recipes. For a few recipe ideas, check out Mother Earth News’ Article, Naturally Sweet Stevia Recipes.

Have you used homemade Stevia extract in your baking or to sweeten drinks? I’d love to know how you’re using it, and any advice you can share!

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54 Comments »

  • Practical Parsimony said:

    I bought a stevia plant about two months ago. I almost let it die. It recovered. whew. I am going to bring it indoors this winter. I don’t think it would survive the north AL winters.

  • Christopher de Vidal said:

    Why spin out the excess water, then place them into 2 cups of water? I don’t have a spinner and I don’t want to buy one if I don’t need one.

  • Monica said:

    i’m wondering whether or not stevia can be used in “canning” recipes… i belong to a canning club, and we usually use sugar & sometimes splenda; but, no one knows whether we can use stevia in it. one of our former members had contacted “Ball” to find out whether u could substitute; but never got a response (she’s no longer in the group, so don’t know if she heard from them later).

    do u know if it can be used in canning?

    also, “practical”: my stevia plants have survived over the winter down in southern AL (baldwin county, near the coast). the first year i had some, i brought them inside & they all died. some that i thought that had died & were left outside, came back. they die off & come back, as many other herbs do.

  • shelby said:

    how many plants do you have? I have been wanting to do this! we live in the bible belt and we get all 4 seasons…how does stevia do with cold wind, rain and snow?

  • Michelle said:

    I just bought another Stevia plant after my chickens ate the first one I got. I’m anxious to try this to see how it works as a sweetener for baking and iced teas. Thanks…..
    Blessings,
    Michelle

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Shelby,

    We’re probably not too far from where you are, we’re in the Southeast. We have 2 plants, and they’ve done very well through our rainy springs, hot/humid summers, and mild winters. They die back and go dormant through the winter, and then pop back up through the ground in Spring.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Christopher de Vidal,

    You know, I really only spun it because I was processing a large batch, and some of the stevia was going to be dried. So, I guess it really doesn’t have to be spun out if you’re gonna put it right into simmered water. You just don’t want to let it sit out wet for a while, or it’ll start to mildew. Thanks for the great question!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    It’d be great if you can keep the plant alive, Practical Parsimony :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Monica,

    I just don’t know if you can can with fresh stevia or not. I know Ball has come out with a new pectin that you can use for sugar-free or alternative sweetener jellies, and you could probably use stevia in that. Definitely store-bought stevia. But I’m thinking if you can with homemade stevia (which will not have anything added to it) the flavor *might* get stronger as it sits, and possibly bitter. Just guessing here. It would be fun to experiment with, though!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Michelle,

    Oh yes, definitely keep those rascally chickens away :) They’re bad about doing stuff like that.

  • Katie said:

    Could you freeze this into mini muffin tin sizes to keep it longer? I guess I wouldn’t need to make such a big batch for it to make that much. I don’t use stevia or sugar for that much, that often so I wouldn’t need that much and it’s only my hubby and I for now. I guess I could give some to friends to if needed. Just a thought….would it get stronger/bitter like you were saying with the canning thing too?

    Also, where do you get your stevia plants at? I would love to try this….you could probably even make sun tea with fresh mint and a few leaves of the stevia then it’s already sweetened and you wouldn’t need to add anymore- oooh, new idea for our new house in a few months!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Katie,

    I’ve read other people talking about freezing their stevia extract, so I think it would work fine. Check out the post I wrote about how I make Peppermint Tea with Fresh Stevia!

  • nik said:

    very interesting post … will have to give it a try :)

  • Jill's Home Remedies said:

    I love doing things like this myself – saves so much money!

  • Jenn said:

    How many cups of fresh leaves do you need to do this with 2 cups of nearly boiling water?
    can’t wait! :)
    Jenn

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    It’s 1 cup of leaves to 2 cups of water :)

  • Elise said:

    Hi Kendra,
    I have been following your blog for some time now and I finally have a question!:)
    How can you keep your stevia extract for more than 2 weeks?
    Thank you for all your help and wisdom you share.
    Elise

  • Elise said:

    Oh Kendra,
    I forgot to say…
    I am sure that you already know this,
    but stevia can sweeten tea or tinctures or that sort of thing by just adding a few fresh leaves.
    Elise

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Hi Elise! You can freeze liquid stevia in ice cube trays to make it last longer :) As for sweetening with fresh leaves, I’ve actually found that it takes a LOT of fresh leaves to sweeten a cup of tea. I’m sure it depends on preference as well. :)

  • Carrie said:

    This is fantastic! I made stevia extract using vodka (you can check out what I did on my blog: http://cradlerockingmama.com/homemade-stevia-extract/) but this sounds like it gets a whole lot more extract for the effort! Have you made stevia extract with vodka before? I’m wondering how the two compare.

    Either way, I think I’ll give your method a try next time! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Hi Carrie! No, I haven’t tried using Vodka yet. I would be curious to see which one works best though :) At least with the vodka the extract would last much longer, unless you freeze it. Let me know if you try this method! :)

  • Sunny said:

    I must be doing something wrong … I find stevia to be really bitter. Yes, there is a sweet flavor, but the bitter is always there and makes the taste quite unpleasant. Commercial stevia is less bitter, but that under-taste is always there. How do you get used to the bitterness?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Sunny,

    My plant isn’t bitter, but there is an aftertaste. My children love to go out and pick several leaves to chew on as they play, so they don’t seem to taste any unpleasantness either. Your plant might be lacking certain nutrients. Also, there are many different varieties of the Stevia plant, and some are sweeter than others.

  • Diane said:

    Can you make icecubes out of it and freeze them?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Yep. Sure can, Diane :)

  • Shawn said:

    Hi Kendra. Wow, I’ve never even thought about growing and making my own stevia extract. What a great idea. I just got my mint plant to finally take off. Everyone laughs because they are so prolific and take over the garden, but my was really struggling for the first couple of years.

    Just curious, how do compare the taste and sweetness of your homemade liquid to that the you buy in the dropper bottles?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Shawn,
    I’ve never tried the store bought extract, so I don’t really know how they compare. The flavor of the extract I made is quite strong. Very sweet, but a different sweet than sugar. You should try growing Stevia! Mine has been super easy to grow, and has really been fun to play with.

  • Krista said:

    I have 3 Stevia plants that have taken off this year. I live in the panhandle of Fl and we have had a very wet summer and they are doing great. I have cut them back several times and they just get bushier and taller. I have made a Stevia tincture with 100 proof vodka that is really greatand in a dark bottle/dark place it will keep for a couple of years with out refrigeration. I have only used it to sweeten my other tinctures, I am an herbalist and have several
    (dozen) tinctures. I bet it can be used like vanilla extract. Also if you dry the leaves then grind them up really fine you can use them like sugar, but they make the food kind of green and yuo have to just keep trying to see about the sweetness.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Great info, Krista!

  • Preppy Pink Crocodile said:

    Very interesting! I’ll be curious to read how you use it in recipes. Will it turn baked goods green? And if you steep it in vodka, would the extra last longer (like making vanilla extract)?

    KK

  • The Well-Rounded Mama said:

    You can can with stevia, just as you can can with other artificial sweeteners. However, you need a special pectin to do it well. There’s a Ball no sugar pectin, but probably the best choice is Pomona Pectin, which allows you to use as much or as little sugar as you prefer, or substitute other choices for sugar instead.

    With most pectins, you need the sugar to activate the gelling action so you can’t alter the recipe or lower the amount of sugar. With Pomona, it uses a different method of gelling so you can alter the amount or type of sweetener at will.

    I wrote all about pectin types and mechanisms of action here:

    http://wellroundedmama.blogspot.com/2012/09/canning-pecking-about-pectins.html

    Personally I don’t care for stevia for canning but it is good for other things, so it’s worth it to explore making extracts from it.

  • so cal living is easy said:

    I washed my stevia leaves and dried them in the oven on a very low temp (150 +/-). After fully dried, I pulverized them in my coffee/spice grinder…very fine powder. Haven’t baked with it but use in tea, etc. A little green residue floats to top, but no big deal. I like the dehydrated better than fresh.

  • adeyinka said:

    Pls, where can I get stevia plant or leaves?.

  • Norma Hidalgo said:

    I grew stevia last year but I did not do anything with it. I hope it comes back in the spring. We live in North Mississippi.

  • Shawna said:

    I use stevia in my freezer jams and apple butter. I reduce the amount of sugar required by half using stevia. I also plan to grow my own stevia this spring as I use it in almost everything including making cookies.

  • Wendy NZ said:

    I wonder if you could put stevia leaves thru a masticating juicer and use the extracted juice?
    Also has anyone used the dried stems for anything?
    I have planted four stevia plants but as we are counting down to Autumn I may not get much off them before Winter hits.

  • Gina said:

    I apologize if this was mentioned. Can you freeze the extract? Thanks.

  • Chandra said:

    I have also heard about drying the leaves on a very low heat in the oven. Just heat the oven on low. Put your leaves on a baking pan and turn the oven off. Put the pan in the oven and let sit over night. Next day you can use a mortar and pestal or coffee grinder reserved for herbs to make it into a powder. I want to try this this year. It is suppose to be really sweet and healthier. However, it will turn your product green. Also will be really sweet. Will not need much to sweeten.

  • M.J. said:

    Where can I get seeds or a plant ?

  • Arlene Boothby said:

    I am interested in getting some stevia plants. Please let me know where I can buy them at!

  • Don said:

    You can order seeds from Baker Creek Seeds.

  • Johnna D said:

    Did you ever do any baking with your stevia extract and how did things go? Did you start your plants from seed or purchase them already growing? I’ve tried starting from seed and haven’t seem to have had any luck getting them to grow.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    You know Johnna, I never did bake with it. I used it up making tea. :) Mine were plants that were given to me from a local nursery. I hope you’re able to get some growing! They’re so much fun.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Burpee.com sells Stevia :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    M.J.- Burpee.com sells Stevia :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Gina, yes, you can freeze it in small amounts, like ice cube trays.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Wendy NZ- I’m not sure how a juicer would do. And I’ve only used the leaves. Let us know if you experiment with it!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    That’s a good tip, Shawna! I like the idea of going half and half as you get used to the taste. :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    adeyinka- you can find Stevia plants for sale at Burpee.com :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    I hope you can get some to grow for you, Norma!

  • diana said:

    Stevia can you dehighdrait them and make sweetner for use in winter.

  • Donna Seidel said:

    I wonder if this concoction, in larger amounts, could be frozen as ice cubes and thawed as needed.

  • Donna Seidel said:

    Oops, saw you’d answered a question about ice cubes. I bought large plants at our local ‘Wal’ of China store this week, and more at the grocery store. I see that seeds are available online and through seed companies. I deal with companies that sell heirloom and non-GMO seeds.

  • Moss Hollowe said:

    Just wanted to clarify that this is actually not an extract, but an infusion. Infusions are plant material steeped in water or oil, and an extract is achieved in alcohol and/or glycerin and water. Extracts are often left to steep for a few weeks, shaking daily, before straining. I often use 1/2 grain alcohol 1/2 water or 1/3 grain alcohol 1/3 water 1/3 glycerin. They will keep for a very long time!

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