Your key to using Stevia

earl grey tea(bag) cookies

Why stevia?

This natural, no-cal sweetener from the leaf of the stevia plant is incredibly good for you. Unlike sugar, it doesn’t create an insulin response. Whereas sugar damages your pancreas, the organ that regulates blood sugar, stevia’s sterols and antioxidants actually nourish this essential organ.

Sugar addicts can enjoy foods sweetened with stevia without suffering all the negative effects of sugar. Risk of chronic diseases caused by too much sugar in our food, like diabetes, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and obesity, can be reduced by using stevia to lower our sugar consumption.

coffee foam

Taste

Don’t expect stevia to taste exactly like sugar. Pure stevia extracts are 300-400 times sweeter than ordinary table sugar. A little goes a long way. Used properly, stevia sweetens food nicely. It takes the sourness out of lemons and yogurt and the bitterness from coffee. The taste is lighter and fresher than the same food sweetened with sugar, which can be cloying.

Every sweetener has its own unique taste. Honey tastes different than maple syrup. Agava syrup tastes different than brown sugar. Coconut palm sugar tastes different than corn syrup. And all these sweeteners taste different than ordinary table sugar.

But none of these natural sweeteners are calorie-free or nonglycemic. Stevia is both.

Stevia

Pure stevia extract is in the small round jars, top left. All the others contain additives.

What stevia product should you buy?

Read the label. Buy a powdered product that is 100 percent pure stevia extract. In Canada, I buy New Roots stevia white powder concentrate.

Then make up a liquid stevia solution for sweetening coffee, cocktails, puddings, and yogurt. A small jar of pure stevia powder can last you for months and is the cheapest option.

Stevia powders sold in combination with fillers have diminished health properties and can cause digestive problems in some people. You are paying for chemical fillers rather than the sweetening power of stevia.

Truvia is one such product, where the stevia is combined with erythritol, a sugar alcohol made from corn. You might also see stevia combined with maltodextrin, inulin, xylitol, and glycerin. These additives are included to prevent clumping, to adjust the taste closer to that of table sugar, and to lower the cost. But all this comes at a cost to your health. Pure is best.

If you only use a little stevia, to sweeten your coffee or a bowl of yogurt, for example, You can buy a liquid stevia product off the shelf. I find these products are much sweeter than my home made solution (see below), so you need less. Read the label and buy an alcohol-free, pure liquid stevia.

But why not make your own liquid stevia, like I do. It is the most economical way to use stevia.

DSCN9997

My home-made liquid stevia solution
Makes 1/2 cup, enough to sweeten 24-36 cups of coffee

  • 1/4 teaspoon stevia white powder concentrate, from New Roots
  • 1/2 cup boiling water (preferably filtered or distilled)
  1. Heat the water in a small heat-proof bowl in the mirowave.
  2. Gently stir in the powder until it dissolves. It clumps in the water initially but within a minute or so you have a colorless solution.
  3. With a funnel, pour the liquid stevia solution into a small dropper-style, dark-brown, glass bottle. Store the excess in a second dark-brown glass bottle. You can buy them at the pharmacy.

Accuracy when measuring the stevia powder is important. Over-fill the measuring spoon, then use a knife to smooth the top of the powder, pushing the excess back into its container.

Using my homemade liquid stevia solution – Sugar equivalency

Single servings – My homemade stevia solution sweetens one-for-one like sugar does. So if you like a half teaspoon in a cup of strong coffee, you need a half teaspoon of my stevia solution. One dropperful of stevia is perfect for a cup of my Nespresso coffee.

Stevia

 

Baking  – Stevia works well with chocolate and in puddings and custards. I always add the powdered stevia to the liquid ingredients in the recipe and give it time to dissolve, as it tends to clump. Be patient.  Also, it dissolves quicker in hot liquids than cold ones. To attain sugar equivalency, I use 1/4 teaspoon of powdered concentrate to 1/2 cup liquid. This equals a half cup of sugar.

Sugar is usually added to the dry ingredients in your recipe. But liquid stevia is best added to the liquid ingredients. You may have to reduce the amount of other liquids in the recipe if you use a large quantity of liquid stevia instead of sugar.

In recipes that need a crystalline structure to rise properly, like angel cake, souffles, or meringues, you have to use a combination of granulated sugar and stevia. Experiment with your favorite recipes to get it right. These might not be worth the effort, especially if you can’t eat added sugar for health reasons.

Snacks  – My favorite snack is what I call my yogurt bowl. I buy 0% Greek plain yogurt, for more protein and less saturated animal fats. Then I add fruit and nuts, and perhaps some cinnamon or vanilla. I finish with my home-made liquid stevia solution to sweeten it all up. I usually need one or 2 tablespoons to sweeten a cup of yogurt and fruit. So good!

Storing homemade liquid stevia solution

With time, liquid stevia gets cloudy. It doesn’t affect the taste. Just shake it well before using.

But if you don’t use it often, you may want to make it up in smaller quantities. If you have enough patience to divide a 1/4 teaspoon amount of powder in half, you can cut my  recipe in half. You can also double the recipe if you expect to use it in baking often.

Put the liquid stevia solution into brown bottles and store them away from bright light, or even in the fridge.

Adjusting the amount

Too much stevia can change the taste from sweet to metallic. This can sour your stevia experience! You have to learn for yourself how much is just right.

Choose a brand you like and experiment with your favorite recipes. Keep notes and readjust the next time. Or buy my brand and follow my guidelines. Then adjust to your own taste from there. Believe me, if you like sweet foods it is so worth the effort to eliminate added sugar from your diet.

Enter “stevia” into my search box to find some recipes where I’ve used stevia successfully (and one NOT so successfully).

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ygohel18
    Apr 28, 2017 @ 08:24:23

    Helpful.

    Reply

  2. Vinny Grette
    Apr 26, 2017 @ 17:51:30

    Click on the photos of the Stevia label. The jar contains 15 g stevia extract and the contents weighs 15 g. Thus, 100% stevia extract. There is a whole list of additives the jar does NOT contain, including sugar, wheat and eggs.

    Reply

  3. chef mimi
    Apr 26, 2017 @ 12:59:41

    This is a great post! I’ve used stevia for years in my coffee, and sometimes sweentened home made yogurt, but I’ve never done anything else with it!

    Reply

  4. Barbara
    Apr 26, 2017 @ 07:15:19

    Very helpful. Thanks. I re-blogged a link to your post on Kitchen Portfolio. (kitchenportfolio.wordpress.com).

    Reply

  5. Javy Dreamer
    Apr 25, 2017 @ 20:39:36

    Reblogged this on Recipe Dreams.

    Reply

  6. woodboneandstone
    Apr 25, 2017 @ 17:07:20

    I have been avoiding maltodextrin and the alcohol sugars for some time now and I was so disappointed to discover that the large bag of powdered stevia I purchased contained maltodextrin (I do read labels before I purchase but I missed that one). Pure stevia products are few and far between. Every single one in the stores I patronize are adulterated with those additives. I’m not sure I would trust a product that didn’t mention them. How insidious it is to ruin something good by sneaking in undesirable substances. The Whole Earth Sweetener Co.® products, “Honey 50” and “Agave 50” don’t mention those items but who knows? It is such a shame that unscrupulous manufacturers make it necessary for everything to be certified free of this or certified free of that.

    Reply

    • Vinny Grette
      Apr 25, 2017 @ 20:04:43

      My brand is AOK. I mistakenly took a picture of the French label, but will retake the English label. Nothing but stevia. I’m sure you can source it on-line. It’s made in Canada and I have even spoken to them about their products. Or… you can grow your own, Mr. Wood, Bones, and stones 🙂 🙂

      Reply

      • woodboneandstone
        Apr 25, 2017 @ 20:31:31

        I have grown my own stevia. It came back every year for a few years then died out. I should plant it again. I still have a lot of the dried leaves. I like it fine for sweetening teas but it’s a bit too herby for some things.

        Reply

        • Vinny Grette
          Apr 25, 2017 @ 22:04:11

          LOL – why does that not surprise me :)? I’ve read that you can buy a green stevia powder, the least processed of the lot. But the color would limit its usefulness.

          Reply

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