Growing and Using Stevia

Last Spring, I came across some Stevia plants while picking up some bedding plants at Canadian Tire. I remember just a few years ago, even the seeds were hard to find and when I did, they were very expensive. Now the price has come down somewhat, and they are being sold as bedding plants as well.

I picked up two plants and they sat out on the porch all Spring and early Summer. I brought them along to Prince Rupert when we headed that way and had them outside there for awhile. Once the nights started really cooling down, I brought the plants in and set them in a sunny window.

Here’s a few pictures of the plants and how I use harvested and dried the leaves. Stevia makes a great substitute for sugar! I think it’s much better for a person to use Stevia rather than Sweet n Low or Splenda, as the Stevia plant has no chemicals in it. Just add water with no fertilizer and it is a “natural” plant.

 

It’s quite a pretty plant – I should have probably kept it trimmed lower but I let it go. Eventually it started trailing.

 

 

You can easily pinch off a few leaves at a time if you like, or let it start trailing and then give it a good haircut!

 

 

I snipped the stems right above a spot on the stem which had two leaves on either side. I snipped the leaves off of the stem and onto a large plate.

 

 

When I was finished I had ended up with a large serving platter and a wide serving bowl full of Stevia leaves.

All I did to dry them (it was summer, after all) was to leave them out on the counter out of direct sunlight. I would give them a good stir with my fingers two or three times a day. Within a few days, they looked like this

 

 

Once they felt quite dry to the touch, I put them into a Ziplock bag and use my rolling pin to crush the leaves – you could do this by hand if you prefer not to use plastic.

 

Then I transferred the crushed leaves into a small glass Pyrex bowl with a lid. I have been using it in my coffee, I just add it in with a spoon. Stevia is a lot more healthy for a person that using sugar. If you want some great recipes using Stevia, take a look at the link.

 

 

Want to be sure you’re reading what we’re writing?   Subscribe to our mailing list and don’t miss a single post. Take a look at our sidebar at the top of the page and subscribe. I promise you I’ll keep your email addresses to myself – you won’t ever be spammed and I won’t ever do anything with my list other than let you know every time a new post is published here and give you the inside scoop on great info and deals.

 

Here’s What’s Happening in our Garden

These last few weeks have been so busy here – much like everyone I imagine who has a big garden and plans to preserve food for over the winter.

Naturally Grown Canadian Hardneck Garlic

 

Here’s some of our Garlic hanging in the Barn in July.

This past week has really been all about the Garlic. We have managed to get our 8000 plants (harvested to dry in July) cut, cleaned and stored. We will be heading to the South Cariboo Garlic Festival this coming weekend and we will have a good supply of fresh garlic for our customers. Come and see us! There will be lots of great family activities and if you love Garlic, it is THE place to spend a day.

While our heads have been focussed on Garlic, the garden keeps growing (so do the weeds) and growing. It’s been all I can do to get in there for half an hour a day to do some harvesting. Since I haven’t had the time to do any processing, the majority of things like beets and peas are still waiting on me to get in there and start picking!

 

Asparagus later in season

Our Asparagus plants have grown into frothy fronds that sway in the wind. So pretty to watch.

 

 

Carrots

Carrots need badly to be thinned, but we harvest enough to eat fresh. Sometimes when we are so busy, we just walk into the garden and eat lunch right there! Carrots, broccoli side shoots, peas and beans are all ready. We follow that up with dessert when we head into the Berry Bed to toss mouthfuls of rapsberries down.

 

Zucchini

 

Zucchini (some the size of clubs!) are not getting picked often enough. To keep plants like this producing, you need to pick them regularly to encourage more flowers and thus, veggies for later harvests.

 

Beets with Chard in the background

 

Beets are ready for processing – I want to turn some into pickles and pressure can others.

How is your garden growing this summer? Have you been able to keep up with harvesting?

 

 

Want to be sure you’re reading what we’re writing?   Subscribe to our mailing list and don’t miss a single post. Take a look at our sidebar at the top of the page and subscribe. I promise you I’ll keep your email addresses to myself – you won’t ever be spammed and I won’t ever do anything with my list other than let you know every time a new post is published here and give you the inside scoop on great info and deals.