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| How to Use Stevia |
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Sharon Schleicher
Posted on: September 22, 2003
I have grown a stevia plant and want to use it for a sweetener. I am allergic to aspartame and all other sugar substitutes. This product was recommended to me. I have tried to use the leaves in iced tea but was not successful. Any help would be appreciated. Can you use this in baking instead of refined sugar? How does one use this herb?
You do not explain what the problem was when you used stevia leaves in iced tea. Was it the taste?
Stevia is not a perfect substitute for sugar, just as honey cannot always be used in the same ways as sugar.
The leaves contain steviosides that are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. They also contain other compounds, some with a slight bitter aftertaste that takes some getting used to. The white powdered extract is less bitter and comes closest to resembling sugar but still its taste is different from sugar. A white stevia extract is available from Richters.
Rather than thinking of stevia as a sweetener you add to an already flavourful tea blend, we recommend thinking of it as an integral part of the tea blend itself. In this thinking, the stevia leaves contribute more than just sweetness; they contribute a slightly anisey, slightly bitter, very sweet flavour to the tea.
If you cannot get used to the taste of stevia leaves, try the white powder extract that we carry.
Steviosides are quite stable compounds that resist the destructive effects of heat; so the leaves and the extract can be used in baking.
Interest in stevia is very high. One of our most popular books is "The Stevia Cookbook" by Ray Sahelian and Donna Gates. The book has recipes for baking, main course dishes, and drinks.
For more information on stevia, check the Q&A database on our website. Search for "stevia" and past articles covering everything from multinational conspiracies, usage, growing and safety will come up.