Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) leaves are reputed to be 300 times sweeter than table sugar with practically no calories and are cholesterol free; a natural sugar substitute.
It is ideal as an alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners for those who have diabetes. It can be used to sweeten hot or cold drinks, fruit desserts, salad dressings, yogurt and most creamy desserts.
How to grow Stevia:
This dense, bushy shrub (60cm high and 40cm wide) grows in full sun, although in very hot areas it will appreciate afternoon shade. Soil should be well composted and drain well. Also suitable for growing in large pots. Grow three to five plants for a year’s supply of dried stevia leaves.
Pick the leaves when the plant is in flower or forming flower buds as the level of sweetness is highest at this stage.
How to use Stevia:
Dry leaves and grind into a powder and store in a sealed container. One teaspoon of dried Stevia is equal to 1 cup of sugar. Make a tea by pouring boiling water over fresh leaves and allowing to steep for 5 minutes. Add mint for extra flavour or add a teabag or coffee. Chewing on a stevia leaf may alleviate a craving for chocolate or rich cakes.
Find Stevia in our ‘Feed from Your Garden’ area so that you too can plant and use your own!