As an ever-growing healthy minded society we have been taking increasing steps towards getting to know our food, being more selective, reading labels and fighting against Monsanto.  Simultaneously, clean brands and products have been popping-up on the shelves of all stores across the Country.  There has never been a better time to embrace the green-life wave and ditch the fast food lifestyle.

How to Grow and Use Stevia |

Table of Contents

Welcome to GITK ! I am excited to share my very first post about my garden life.  Perhaps some of you noticed the changes, but if you are new to my blog, I have recently rebranded to this awesome looking blog that is now called Garden in the Kitchen.  One of the main reasons for this change was to be able to combine two of my greatest passions into my work space; food and garden.  I do not claim to be an expert but a lover of all-things-nature, an enthusiastic gardener and self-proclaimed foodie.

So let’s learn about this sweet herb that is increasingly growing into the market place; Stevia

Stevia is a leafy green substitute for sugar, natural of Paraguay and Brazil where it has been used for centuries as a natural sweetener and for medicinal purposes.  Stevia is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and has no calories {zero!} which makes this natural sweetener a good substitution in weight loss or weight control diets.  It didn’t take me long to become very fond of this sweet herb, in fact one bite into it’s incredibly sweet leaf was enough of a reason for me to come home with two plants!

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about stevia and have used it to make smoothies, juices, lemonades and tea {BONUS recipe below!}.  You can also use it in your cooking but be aware that it does not caramelize the same way that sugar does and it can change the texture and baking properties. From my stand point, fresh stevia is a great all-natural sweetener for your favorite drinks and as an edible garnishing, but let’s further look into ways that we can add this healthier sweetener into our cooking.

How to Grow and Use Stevia |

Fresh Stevia – can be purchased at your local nursery or garden center. It can be directly planted into the ground or in containers.  Give it a rich loamy soil and allow it to be exposed to daily sun.  Stevia plants do not like to to be overwatered, so make sure your container has good drainage so the soil is never “soggy”.  Pick the larger and older leaves to encourage to plan to continue to grow.  Add the fresh leaves to your favorite drinks by blending it together or pair it with mint for a refreshing tea.

Dried Stevia – is a process that allows you to turn the fresh leaves into powder, for cooking and baking needs.  Harvest the stevia by cutting off the branches at the base of the plant.  Pick the leaves off and discard the stems. Wash and dry the leaves for about 12 hours in the sun.  Once the leaves are dry, grind them in a food processor or by using a mortar and pestle. Use this natural powdered sweetener in baking, sauces and juices.

Liquid Stevia – is a concentrate solution sweetener that you can easily make at home by using fresh or dried stevia leaves.  To make liquid stevia or stevia concentrate you can add one cup of water to half cup of crushed fresh stevia leaves or dried stevia and simmer until you see the little bubbles (not boiling bubbles!). Let it cool off and save it in an air tight container in the refrigerator.  Use it to sweeten your coffee, drinks, sauces and other recipes that doesn’t require a powdered sweetener for consistency.

Pineapple Lemonade sweetened with fresh stevia is a deliciously refreshing drink to sip and stay hydrated!

BONUS Recipe!

For a refreshing summer drink try this Pineapple Lemonade made with fresh stevia leaves as a natural sweetener.

Want to know more about Stevia ? Check out The Stevia Solution Cookbook: Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with the No-Calories, No-Carb, No-Chemical, All-Natural, Healthy Sweetener.

The Stevia Solution Cookbook provides information on how to cultivate, grow, purchase, and use stevia in your everyday cooking and includes more than sixty full-color images.

The health benefits of stevia include: -Stevia has no calories, chemicals, or carbs. -Stevia protects against type-II diabetes. -Stevia is an anti-inflammatory. -Stevia helps prevent cavities.

The Stevia Solution Cookbook

Hi! I’m Silvia.

My goal is to make cooking simple and enjoyable.

Garden in the Kitchen is full of easy and balanced recipes for busy families. Classics get a healthier twist with additions of veggies or alternative ingredients.

I hope my recipes will inspire you to cook more home meals and above all have fun in the kitchen!

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  1. I’m going to try to make the liquid stevia tonight with the plant I bought. Which by the way, has doubled in size already!

  2. Silvia, congratulations on the new site direction! Your enthusiasm for the subject of both food and gardening is absolutely infectious! I noticed the new name on your URL and was intrigued to hear more. Meanwhile, this post on growing and using stevia is so helpful. I enjoyed learning all about stevia. Plus, I’ve been drooling over your pineapple lemonade all weekend! Three cheers for the new site direction. I can’t wait to see what you have in store next! xo