After a couple of questions on how to grow Stevia in the desert and how I use it, I decided to add an experiment (How exciting! At least to me) and some notes on how I use it in my everyday life.
I sun dried what I grew this year, which wasn’t much since it was my first successful attempt, the rest of the powder I use I purchase through Amazon. If you purchase, get the green leaf organic, which is just the leaves dried and ground to a powder. Once dried, I put it in a food processor and then a mason jar for storage.
This year I have many more cuttings to work with and I plan on taking a few more so that I can try to keep them growing inside all winter. I did attempt it this winter with marginal success. I took the two plants I grew in pots and brought them inside and the one I grew in the garden I transplanted into a pot to join the other two. Unfortunately, I didn’t bother or think to label them so that I’d know which did better. Out of the three that I tried overwintering, only one has survived and it is in a sad state. Of course, there could be other reasons my poor plants didn’t survive. 🙂
What I will try next winter is using some kind of large clear bag like a 55 gallon clear garbage bag, a big pot, and a tomato cage to see if I can create a mini greenhouse like I do with the cuttings. Our house is warm but very dry with the wood stove and I think it would be worth the effort because as sad as the above Stevia plant looks, I did take fresh leaves off of it all winter. And now I have taken some cuttings from it to grow more.
When I use Stevia it is usually in the dry state. I use it in tea, coffee, and baked goods. In tea and coffee I use a tea ball or a french press to sift out any leaves. Stevia will act like tea and float in the liquid, it does not dissolve like sugar or honey. When I add it to baked goods or smoothies I add it right to the recipe since it won’t float around. However, I always mix it with honey, dates, or cane sugar because Stevia has a bitter, green leafy taste that I just can’t describe. Remember when eating it that it gets sweeter the longer it is in your mouth and a little goes a very long way.