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Post  camprn on 11/14/2014, 1:00 pm

@NHGardener wrote:

Why don't more people use stevia, when it's a natural alternative? I guess sugar cane is natural too, but stevia is locally grown and I think it's better for you than sugar cane, no?


In the US it's probably the result of industry pressure rather than because of the 'natural' aspect of it. Sugar is natural, comes from cane and beets. Honey is natural. Molasses is natural, Maple is natural, Stevia is natural.

Sugar rules because sugar is big business.

...as to the nutritional quality. not sure about that either. I cannot find a good source of nutritional info about stevia.


http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5591/2

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5595/2

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5592/2

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Post  boffer on 11/14/2014, 1:14 pm

I think this is the same thing; they call it 'Sweet Leaf'.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/2296302/2

Given the lack of data displayed, I wonder if they even tested it.


Last edited by boffer on 11/14/2014, 1:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  CapeCoddess on 11/14/2014, 1:19 pm

@boffer wrote:I think this is the same thing; they call it 'Sweet Leaf'.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/2296302/2

Given the lack of data displayed, I wonder if they even tested it.

Hmm, interesting.  I'll bet they did test it as this data involves packets, so the stevia is processed.  I would think that eating a fresh leaf would have a few nutrients of some sort.
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Post  camprn on 11/14/2014, 3:06 pm

@boffer wrote:I think this is the same thing; they call it 'Sweet Leaf'.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/2296302/2

Given the lack of data displayed, I wonder if they even tested it.
Good find Boffer, and thanks for posting. I didn't know that alternate name. I love the nutrition data website.

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Post  camprn on 11/14/2014, 3:10 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:
@boffer wrote:I think this is the same thing; they call it 'Sweet Leaf'.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/2296302/2

Given the lack of data displayed, I wonder if they even tested it.

Hmm, interesting.  I'll bet they did test it as this data involves packets, so the stevia is processed.  I would think that eating a fresh leaf would have a few nutrients of some sort.
LOL, if you want nutrition with your sweets, switch to honey or molasses or maple.

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Post  NHGardener on 11/14/2014, 7:41 pm

Well, boffer's site did state a glycemic load of 0, as opposed to the other linked sweeteners, so that's good.

I don't think this is the article I was thinking of regarding stevia: http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/stevia-natural-sugar-substitute.aspx#axzz3J5pxTKqL but they have several articles on stevia. I'll have to look thru my old magazines.

What a great name for a little girl. Stevia. Sweet. Laughing
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/15/2014, 8:43 am

@CapeCoddess wrote:Marie, is your stevia still going?


No.  It was in a 5-gallon bucket and didn't like getting cold.  And since I'm the only one who uses it, a gallon of leaves will last me a while...

I did pick up some seeds at Baker Creek for their Sweetie Star variety, but haven't tried it yet.  Also saved some seed from the plant I had.  It was a HD Bonnie's purchase...


If you decide to try it from seed, be aware that the germination level is only about 40%.
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Post  mollyhespra on 11/15/2014, 5:42 pm

"Stevia" (or Ka'a He'e in the Guarani language) is native to the country of Paraguay. I lived in Paraguay as a teen with my mother. We used sugar for cooking and sweetening but I think that's more a product of big business as has already been mentioned.

Anyway, when my mother came to visit for foliage this year, she made some extract from the leaves of the plant I had growing (she's from Paraguay). It's a tedious business and I don't think I'll be making any, as it requires ALOT of dry leaves to make, BUT in the end I have a couple of ounces of extract and it only takes about 3 drops to sweeten a cup of coffee, so it should last me a bit. Come to think of it, I have no idea if it should be stored in the 'fridge or not...

I found an interesting website that covers the history and may have info on health/ nutritive values, etc. I haven't read through the whole website, but I thought I'd post more info here since it seems to be of interest:

http://www.stevia-paraguay.com/stevia-sweetener.htm
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Post  NHGardener on 11/15/2014, 6:44 pm

Thanks for the info Molly. So you grow stevia too? Do you bring it indoors at all, or just grow it in summer?
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 11/15/2014, 7:56 pm

I have used Stevia for years now. It has zero impact on blood sugars, which is really good as diabetes runs in parts of my family. I grew it for a while but didn't like the taste and didn't really know what to do with it. Here's the Stevia brand I buy. I've tasted about 8-10 different brands and it's the one I like the best, as it's the least bitter.

A hint on using Stevia, put less than you think you need and sneak up to the sweetness level you want. The bitter taste is often only when you are using too much.

http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/p/stevia-4-oz/vs-2493#.VGf2IPl9J8E

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Post  camprn on 11/16/2014, 8:48 am

Molly, Thanks for the fabulous information about stevia. okay

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Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/16/2014, 9:00 am

Molly, can you tell us the procedure?  I'd love to do that myself!

I used the stalks to make almost a caramel.  Just boiled them and then dehydrated the syrup down to next to nothing.
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Post  NHGardener on 11/16/2014, 9:55 am

Here's a nice step by step to making stevia extract.

I didn't realize you used vodka to make it. It doesn't actually look difficult.

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/08/homemade-stevia-extract.html

If you prefer using just water, here's a utube video on how to do it (again, it looks pretty easy):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-tXUzgLFjk
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Post  mollyhespra on 11/16/2014, 9:04 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Molly, can you tell us the procedure?  I'd love to do that myself!

I used the stalks to make almost a caramel.  Just boiled them and then dehydrated the syrup down to next to nothing.

AtlantaMarie, you've got the basic idea, except that we didn't use the stalks, just the leaves.  My mother was the one who made it, so I'll have to ask her to clarify just to make sure, but I think these were the basic steps:

Gather up the leaves & dry them well (we used a food dehydrator). Can take a day or two depending on how many leaves you have.

Once the leaves are very dry, crush them and place them into a pot of boiling water (we used distilled water...just coz) using your judgement as to the ratio of water: leaves.  

Then boil and boil and boil some more until you have a reduction/syrup.  Strain & pour into a dark glass container (we used an empty vanilla extract bottle).  

My mother also allowed the pot to dry and then put just a wee bit of water into the pot to "clean" it and added that to the syrup in the bottle.

I have no idea how long it keeps, since this is more of a "concentrate" than an extract, and I'm not sure if the sweetener in Ka'a He'e will act as a preservative like sugar does.

NHG, I've grown it two summers now. I get it from a local organic greenhouse. He does the hard work of starting them from seed for me, LOL! Last year, I just let it die in the winter as I had planted it outside. This year, since my mother was visiting she got sentimental about it and transplanted it for me into a large pot. I let her do it but my inclination is that it won't survive well for me indoors. I live in a cold hole and get very little sunshine in winter. So far, it's put out quite a few new shoots but they're VERY leggy even though it's right next to the sunniest window I have. I may try taking it to work with me, since I get better sun exposure there. We'll see how it does.
HTH!  Stevia - Page 2 3170584802
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 11/17/2014, 8:06 am

Okay, thanks! When I think of extract, I think alcohol.  But that sounds much better!
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Post  CapeCoddess on 11/17/2014, 11:43 am

Molly, let it get leggy.  It will probably make flowers then seeds.  You can then cut it back and save the seeds. I always sprinkle some seeds around the cut back stems just in case they want to grow.  Sometimes they do.  Afterward, you may think it's dead for a long time but keep watering.  Come spring the cut back part will make new growth & soon be ready to go outside again if you want it to. 

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Post  camprn on 11/17/2014, 12:26 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Okay, thanks! When I think of extract, I think alcohol.  But that sounds much better!


LOL, ok here are some good terms and their definitions.

extract, hot or cold, tincture, elixir, cordial, syrup, tonic. These terms may not mean what you think they mean...

http://www.nourishingherbalist.com/the-difference-between-tinctures-tonics-and-teas-oh-my/

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Post  jimmy cee on 11/18/2014, 7:42 am

Before last season I never knew what stevia was, nor did I ever hear of it.
Sitting in a herb section of a nursery sat a pretty little stevia  plant, I picked it up, planted it,
grew very nicely, then I ate a leaf..
I couldnt believe how sweet it was, I'll have more next season, just need to figure out 
what to do with them, if nothing else, it's a pretty plant.
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Post  plantoid on 11/24/2014, 7:10 am

If anyone has three or four  seeds to spare can you PM me please ?
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Post  CapeCoddess on 4/25/2015, 9:08 am

My 5 year old stevia is doing well in the window after being cut back hard mid winter after I collected the seeds and sprinkled them around the base of the plants. You can see the babies starting to sprout now.
Stevia - Page 2 Img_2020

How's everyone else doing with their stevia?
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Post  CapeCoddess on 5/1/2015, 4:03 pm

The seeds that weren't quite ready to come off yet are being collected in a baggie: Stevia - Page 2 02010
Every time I pull a few leaves off to use, a few more seeds fall into the baggie.
What a Face
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Post  sanderson on 5/2/2015, 3:30 am

Congrats! I've failed 2 years in a row.

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Post  plantoid on 5/2/2015, 6:33 am

The seeds I had died from rot and cold as I didn't realize that the propagation beds electric warming cable had burnt out when we had a lightening strike in late september last year.

The insurers paid up for a washing machine , a dryer, an electric oven  , a UPS for Alison's business computer and the complete replacement & refurbishment to the same quality of the wet room's electric under tile heating and control unit .......
I didn't think to check the soil heat  cable as the bed is set up in the outside office ( out of sight out of mind ???)  .  No

 This time round I've set things up with a new digital control unit and plugged it into a dedicated high spec surge protection block to hopefully prevent any further burnouts from natural surges or lightening strikes .
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Post  sanderson on 8/28/2015, 1:03 am

I bought a Sweet Maya stevia plant at OSH today.  The leaves are sweet!  I had 2 employees break off a leaf and I swear, they were afraid to eat it like they were being poisoned!  But, then, they were so surprised that they liked it!!  I think I am in love. I love you

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Post  Marc Iverson on 8/28/2015, 2:22 am

From what I read, stevia is a great thing. Let us know what you wind up doing with it and how the experience of growing it goes. I try to stay away from sugar when I can, but it would be nice to know if stevia offers a practical alternative in some measures at least.
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