I am interested in knowing how I can harvest and use the leaves off of a Stevia herbal plant. This plant is used for artificial sugar for people like myself who are diabetic. I have a huge plant, but no idea what to do with it. I tried seeping some leaves in hot tea, but nothing happened. Please help.
This reference may help: stevia-plant.com. Stevia plants vary a good deal in the amount of sweetness they contain. I had one a couple of years ago that just had no discernible sweetness at all.
You need to dry the leaves and crumble them.
Hang the plant upside down and let it dry or if you have a dehydrator break off the branches and dry them. Pull the leaves off when it is dry and store them in a clean jar or in resealable plastic bag. I have used mine for over a year, it takes about 4 leaves to sweeten a pot of tea. I know you can buy the powder, but that is not cheap. Stevia does not grow well from seeds, about 4 in 100 seeds actually sprout so buy a seedling. Good luck. (02/27/2006)
By gramma gt. guest
You should harvest before the formation of blossom buds. Otherwise the leaf develops a bitter aftertaste. (08/27/2007)
I found this on an internet search:
Stevia leaves may be harvested through the summer as needed. For the biggest harvest with best quality, harvest just as the first blossoms open in the fall. Cut whole stems, leaving 1/3 of the stem length if you want to let the plant re-grow. Strip the leaves and discard the stems. Leaves may be used fresh for making tea or eaten right off the plant as a sweet treat. They taste great with mint leaves. Leaves may be dried for later use by spreading out in a warm spot with good air circulation or in a food dehydrator on low heat. Store the leaves in an airtight container such as a glass canning jar. The dried leaves remain sweet for many years and may be ground into a powder with a kitchen blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle. Now all that's left is enjoying your sweet harvest. (04/22/2008)
This is my third year to have Stevia plants in my Georgia garden. The first year I bought about three as "herbal teas" and the second year I discovered how sweet the leaves were when chewed fresh. However, the sweetness is not released from fresh leaves into boiling water. I have crumbled leaves into beverages, chewing on the leaves for sweetness, but herbal teas are expected to be free from floating debris. This third year I plan to harvest the leaves and dry them in a dehydrator. The plants have grown back larger from perennial roots each spring. (07/27/2008)
Stevia is a wonderful plant. I have ordered the dried leaves from a company on the internet herbalcom.com, very reliable and reasonably priced. It is a no frills website. Stevia is excellent for diabetics and healthy for everybody with no side effects. Some people do find the leaves bitter, but not the extract.
I have several plants that do well here in south Alabama. One year I just didn't harvest one of my plants and it self seeded 3 new plants much to my surprise and they all are doing well. If you want to purchase plants they may be labeled sweet shrub as well as stevia. Most nurseries do carry these plants for sale in the spring.
Stevia leaves are wonderful to make tea. I use my drip coffee maker to make tea using the filter basket adding the tea and stevia (dried and crumbled) together. There are many excellent cookbooks and sites on the web. (12/21/2008)
By piki viki
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