How to Harvest a Stevia Plant

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Stevia is an herb native to South America that has quickly become popular with American consumers for its sweeter-than-sugar qualities and safe use by hypoglycemic and diabetic people. Growing and harvesting your own stevia plant is possible in temperate climates.

Things You'll Need

  • Stevia plant
  • Pruning shears
  • Screen or net for drying
  • Dehydrator
  • Coffee grinder
  • Herb blender
  • Measuring cup
  • Warm water
  • Jar
  • Harvest stevia in the late fall, before the first frost or as soon as the blossoming begins, when the sweetener is at its strongest.

  • Cut the branches with pruning shears. Leave 1/3 of the plant's foliage so it may continue growing the following season.

  • Strip the leaves from the branches.

  • Dry the leaves on a screen or net. Leave them outside in full sunshine for 8 to 10 hours. Alternately, use an electric dehydrator on low (100 degrees F to 110 degrees F).

  • Stop drying when the leaves are crisp, crumbly and bright green. Avoid overdrying (the leaves will lose their sweetness).

  • Crush the dry leaves by hand or with a coffee grinder or herb blender.

  • Keep and use the herbs in their crushed form or make liquid stevia extract.

  • Add 1 cup of water to 1/4 cup crushed leaves. Let it set for 24 hours; pour the extract into a jar. Keep it refrigerated.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use stevia to replace sugar in tea, coffee and other beverages, as well as in baked goods and other foods.

References

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