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.

 

Drying Lovage and other Herbs

We have perennial herbs growing in the garden, so every year we get to enjoy harvests. We use them fresh in cooking, but we also dry the herbs to use in the winter.

Lovage

This is lovage. It tastes a lot like celery but it’s stronger. Great to use in soups or stews. You can see it grows quite tall and if it gets too large for its spot, you can divide it in the Fall and end up with two plants.

 

 

hers, growing, drying, herbs

A basket full of just picked Lovage.

 

basil and lovage drying

I often dry herbs by snipping the leaves into shallow bowls. I let them sit on top of the woodstove and rustle them with my fingers several times a day. It doesn’t take long until they are dry enough to bag. The bowl in the upper left is basil, and the rest is lovage.

 

Lovage

Have you tried drying your own herbs? It’s easy to do and they make everything taste so much better, it’s worth a try to start using more herbs on a daily basis.