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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone grow and use Stevia for their sweetener? We have honey but this year I planted Stevia and plan to use it as part of our sweetener. Does anyone use it now from plant form?
 

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TMESIS
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I buy pre-packaged stevia sweetner in Wally world, but it's expensive. Where did you buy the plants from and how do you plan to use it....ie...drying, freezing, boiling?
 

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I've been growing Stevia but haven't actually used any of it as I buy the powder for iced tea but grow it just in case. By the way, I mulched the plant I have in my garden and it made it thru the winter. I was happy to learn that. I buy the powdered Stevia from Puritan's Pride (not in the little pkgs) and it lasts a long time. I only use l/2 teaspoon to sweeten a big pitcher of tea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I got the plants from my farm supply store. A girl that works there said she uses it all the time. The plants were marked down to $2 and they were big. I got 4 of them.

I googled it and found a recipe, 1/4 cup dried leaves to 1 cup hot water, let that steep and then store in the fridge. I even found a few recipes for baking with it but most call for the white processed stuff that you buy.

I would love to learn how to process and use the leaves for everything.
 

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I purchased some stevia plants last year, they didn't do to well, but came back much better this year. I have some drying right now. I've tried a few leaves added to my tea, but it doesn't seem to get too much of the flavor out with fresh leaves, so I'm going to try the crushed and dried leaves. I'll put the crushed leaves in with my tea leaves and try it that way when I steep the tea.

I usually use the liquid stevia extract for drinks, and the powdered for cooking, although I haven't done much cooking with it lately.

Dawn
 

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I saw somewhere, just in passing, that stevia lowered sperm counts...didn't get details or anything. Anyone know anything about this? Might make a good natural method of birth control if it does!

Mon
 

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STILL not Alice
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This is my first year growing it. We're not big on sweeteners, but a friend gifted me with the plants, so I thought I'd give it a go. :)

The plants had a bit of a struggle getting established, but they seem to be doing better now.

I'll be following this thread to see if anyone has ideas on preserving it. Do you think I could just dry it like mint or other herbs?

Pony!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Everything I've seen says to dry it. I know it gets a lot sweeter when dried.

I read the second year plants are the best. If you are going to over winter it you cut it down to about 4" just before the first big frost. The longer you can leave it into fall the sweeter it is too.

I'm trying to root some stray branches for more plants.
 

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I, too, am growing a plant for the first time. I have it planted in a 3 lb. coffee can so I can bring it inside in the fall. I noticed it wants to wilt a lot. I have to water it twice a day.
 

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frogmammy said:
I saw somewhere, just in passing, that stevia lowered sperm counts...didn't get details or anything. Anyone know anything about this? Might make a good natural method of birth control if it does!

Mon
I've had 4 pregnancies while using stevia. I don't think it would work as birth control for us.
Dawn
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mine is planted in the herb garden with everything else, it seems to be doing OK.

Dawn, do you use the plant or do you buy it processed? (PS too funny about the birth control thing LOL)
 

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We've tried to grow it a couple of times, but didn't have much luck. I'm diabetic, so I use it instead of sugar. We had used Splenda for awhile, but it messed with my bloodsugar (and it's not supposed to).
 

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TMESIS
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I found that mountain rose herbs sells the stevia seeds and guarantees them as fertile. they also sell Stevia leaf powder - 1# for $11.00. I paid almost $9.00 at Wally world for a box with a packet of 100 which I know didn't weigh but a few ounces.
 

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I got my seeds from Seed Saver's Exchange. If I recall correctly the instructions said to sow the seed on the surface of the soil. I started mine indoors in a commercial seed starting mix (no soil, just peat, vermiculite, etc.) and had good success. Hardened off, transplanted to the garden, and voila'.
 

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halfpint said:
I've had 4 pregnancies while using stevia. I don't think it would work as birth control for us.
Dawn
Hmm...perhaps as a fertility drug, then??? :p
 

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I answered your question over at Gardening and Plant Propagation.

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=194971

The sweetness of the leaves depends largely on where and how it's grown and when it's harvested, so you really need to experiment with how much to use. Mine is sickeningly sweet, with that awful earthy after-taste that some people don't mind, but I do.

I've never bought Stevia, especially the white powder stuff which I suspect must have been bleached. When stevia leaves are dried, they should be a good green colour. I air-dry mine just by leaving them on some paper towelling on a cake rack, turning them every so often.

You should know that stevia seeds must be very, very fresh to germinate, and they are notoriously unreliable. It has been said that only 1% of seeds produced are viable. A better proposition is to buy a plant. In my part of the world, it's available at most nurseries, but especially herb nurseries.

It's a cantankerous thing which has a mind of its own. You can give it perfect conditions, and it'll die on you for no apparent reason - then decide to resurrect up to a year later. It's important to remove the flowers as they appear - the plant will usually die right down to nothing if you leave the flowers on. It MIGHT decide to come back, but doesn't always.
 

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ChickenMom said:
Dawn, do you use the plant or do you buy it processed?
I have always used it purchased up until now. I clipped off several leaves a few weeks ago, and left them to air dry. This weekend, I crushed them loosely and have used them in my tea the last two days. I used about 1/2 tsp of loosely crushed leaves, which was plenty to sweeten my large cup of tea, when steeped with the loose tea. I believe it will take some experimenting to get the right amount, and I'd like to get the stevia ground into a powder so that measurements could be more accurate. But at least I know it works.

When I cut all the stevia this fall I'll probably dry it in my dehydrator.

Dawn
 

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Hi All, Well I've been growing, using and selling it for the last 6 years- sold a bunch of plants and seeds here on the barter board. Usually boil a handful of dried leaves in a quart of water for half an hour and the strain through a coffee filter and store the liquid in the frig-lasts about three weeks. Take care, Daryll in NW FLA
 

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I wonder if I'd like the homegrown and dried Stevia better than the commercially prepared stuff I've tried. I just couldn't get into the taste, it was sorta bitter afterwards or something. I TRIED to switch to it, at my dentist's recommendation, but I fell off the wagon and am eating the raw sugar again...yumm!
 
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