Stevia A Natural Sweetener With Benefits
By Teresa Workman Noble Writer for End the Lie
PLEASE NOTE: I do not recommend self diagnosis or self medication. The information contained in this web site is from my studies and research. Some of the information contained herein is hearsay and may not be correct. Use the information from this page only at your own risk! If in doubt consult a
There has been a great deal of press about the use of Aspartame along with other artificial sweeteners and what it does to the body by destroying the brain and all the functions that go along with it such as eye sight, nerve responses and tumours. I want people to be aware that there are alternatives that are natural and can actually help the body while improving the taste of food and drinks.
This plant is 10 to 15 times sweeter than sugar without any calories. It has been known to lower blood sugar levels that is a real benefit to diabetics. Two tests conducted by Purdue University’s Dental Science Research Group have concluded that it “significantly” inhibits the development of plaque, thus Stevia may actually help to prevent cavities. Industrial research in Japan has shown that Stevia extracts are extremely heat stable in a variety of everyday cooking and baking situations. However stevia does not caramelize as sugar does so cannot be used for this application.
It can be purchased in health food stores in a powder or liquid extract form. You can also grow and cultivate your own in your garden or in containers indoors. It would be difficult, at best, to start a stevia patch from scratch — that is, by planting seeds. Even if you could get them to germinate, results might well prove disappointing, since stevioside levels can vary greatly in plants grown from seed. The recommended method is rather to buy garden-ready ‘starter’ plants, which given stevia’s ‘growing’ popularity, may well be obtainable from a nursery or herbalist in your area.
Harvesting should be done as late as possible, since cool autumn temperatures and shorter days tend to intensify the sweetness of the plants as they evolve into a reproductive state. While exposure to frost is still to be avoided, covering the plants during an early frost can give you the benefit of another few weeks’ growth and more sweetness.
In harsher climates, it is a good idea to take cuttings that will form the basis for the next year’s crop. Cuttings need to be rooted before planting, using either commercial rooting hormones or a natural base made from willow tree tips, pulverized into a slurry in your blender. After dipping the cuttings in such a preparation, they should be planted in a rooting medium for two to three weeks, giving the new root system a chance to form. They should then be potted — preferably in 4.5-inch pots — and placed in the sunniest and least drafty part of your home until the following spring.
Once all your leaves have been harvested you will need to dry them. This can be accomplished on a screen or net. A home dehydrator can be used, although sun drying is the preferred method. Crushing the dried leaves is the final step in releasing stevia’s sweetening power. This can be done either by hand or, for greater effect, in a coffee grinder or in a special blender for herbs.
stevia syrup: Harvest mature stevia leaves and loosely pack them into a quart jar. Cover the leaves with a very high alcohol content liquor, such as grain alcohol. Let the jar sit undisturbed for at least 24 hours. Strain the mixture. Add a cup of water, and place over low heat in a saucepan. Stir occasionally, and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Taste after 30 minutes–add more water if the syrup is too sweet. Bottle and refrigerate.
Stevia Concentrate: Bring two cups of distilled water to a boil, reduce heat to medium, add 1/2oz of dried (cut and sifted) stevia, cover and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat (keep covered) and allow to steep until cool. Strain and refrigerate. The concentrate will be drake green/ black in colour.
The following conversions are for general use because the quality, flavour, and sweetness vary from plant to plant.
Sugar amount Stevia powdered extract Stevia liquid concentrate
1 cup 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon 1/4 teaspoon 6 to 9 drops
1 teaspoon A pinch to 1/16 teaspoon 2 to 4 drops
In conclusion Stevia is a much superior and safer sweetener then the manmade alternatives that are on the market. Use your brain to make an informed decision after all it’s only you that will suffer the consequences. Remember there are always alternatives to big corporate products that are being crammed down our throats for financial gain with no regard to your health.
For more information about Stevia
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by David Noble