" Blog da Horta Biológica: Stevia - How To Make Liquid and Powder Extract | Benefits | True Stevia vs Fake Stevia

Stevia - How To Make Liquid and Powder Extract | Benefits | True Stevia vs Fake Stevia

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) is a sweet plant, native to South America, known to be a healthy substitute for sugar.

We have been receiving a few emails with questions about stevia, especially the one on sale in supermarkets. This is a good sign, as these questions show a growing concern for leading a healthier lifestyle, eschewing industrial and refined products. 

Did you know that the stevia sweetener you buy in supermarkets is not real stevia sweetener? It is often said, and rightly so, that we are always being misled!

The good news is that even stevia sweetener can be made at home. In addition to having more control over its quality, making things with your own hands also gives great satisfaction.  There's nothing like what's homemade!

In this post we will share:

  • What are the benefits of stevia
  • How to distinguish it from the products you buy
  • How to make the liquid and powder extract
  • How to use

After all, you don't need a sugar cane plantation to make sugar at home! All you need is a pot of stevia! If you do not want to sow, you can buy pots of this plant in nurseries and garden shops.

Before showing how to make stevia extract let's talk a bit about this very special plant.

Benefits and Curiosities of Stevia

Diabetes and Obesity
  • Although its extract is substantially sweeter than sugar, stevia contains no calories which makes it an ideal sweetener for people with diabetes and those who want to fight obesity.
  • Helps maintain proper insulin and blood glucose levels.
  • Helps to control appetite.

Oral health
  • Its enzymes and high vitamin C content help protect from inflammation of the gums, reduce plaque and the appearance of cavities.
  • In Japan (one of the largest consumers of stevia in the world) it is used to make toothpaste, chewing gum and medicinal products to protect against bleeding gums and sore throat.

  • Apart from culinary applications, stevia also has cosmetic applications and can be used to make homemade moisturizers, as it tones, cleanses and softens the skin.

Other treatments 
  • In some countries stevia is approved as a sugar substitute and is already used to treat hypertension, depression, fatigue, infections, skin problems, and sugar addiction.

All these benefits make stevia a healthy, long-lasting and affordable home sweetener.

It is important to remember that regardless of these benefits, and as we have indicated before in the post about Turmeric, to avoid overuse of superfoods it is advisable to speak to a nutritionist. If you are diabetic you should also consult your doctor for correct use, adapted to your particular case.

How to Distinguish from Store-bought Stevia

Ever since stevia appeared on the market, many fake products have been placed on supermarket shelves.

By making stevia sweetener at home, you can be sure that you are consuming real stevia. Apart from being a simple process it also saves you a lot of money.

Real or Pure Stevia

  • It does not taste like sugar and is not white like sugar. It is green.
  • It has a sweet taste, although not as sweet as industrialized stevia as processed stevia has other forms of added sugars.
  • The taste of pure stevia is sweet when used in very small amounts. If too much is used, it becomes very bitter indeed!

Fake Stevia or Industrialized Stevia

  • It is white, usually granulated, and very similar to refined sugar.
  • Industrialized stevia does not have the same medicinal properties as pure stevia because it is altered through industrial processes where other forms of sugar are added, in order to make stevia more commercially attractive.

Many brands of stevia on sale have additives and hidden sugars. Some ingredients commonly found on setvia package labels, such as dextrose, sorbitol and erythritol, are added sugars. These are white, water-soluble and industrially produced for use as sweeteners.

How to Make Stevia Extract

Since store-bought stevia is what is is, why not make it at home? Let's see how to make liquid and powder extract in a simple way. 


To make liquid extract use fresh or dried leaves. Powder can also be used, but this can make the process more difficult when it comes to straining.  

Various solvents can be used: alcohol, water or glycerin. When making with water or glycerin, the shelf life is very short. As only a small amount of extract is needed for each use, it is important that it lasts for months or years. So, here is how to make an alcohol extract.

  1. Put the leaves (fresh or dried / cut or whole) in a jar. Do not use the stems.
  2. Cover the leaves with unflavored, consumable alcohol such as brandy or vodka.
  3. Cover the jar and store in a cool, dark place for 24-36 hours, shaking the jar occasionally.
  4. After this time, strain using a sieve, coffee filter or nut milk bag.
  5. Using a funnel, pour into an amber glass jar with a pipette.
  6. Label with date.
  7. Store in a dark, cool, dry place.

There are no exact amounts for making this extract. It is advised that only a few leaves and a little alcohol is used. The larger the quantity of ingredients, the sweeter and stronger the taste. It is also important to remember that you only need to use a very small amount at a time, which means that a small bottle will last for a long time.

Alcohol But Not Too Much

While consumable alcohol is an excellent preservative that will preserve the stevia extract for several years, one must be remember that these drinks also have their sweetness. So, if you do not tolerate alcohol well or want to reduce the sweetness at the end result,  you can still do an additional step before storing.

  • After straining, heat the extract over low heat for 20-30 minutes, without letting it boil;
  • After this step, pour into the jar and store.

Placing over low heat will cause the extract to reduce the alcohol content. However, it will also reduce the shelf life of the liquid which should be refrigerated and consumed within 3 months.


Picking and Drying Leaves

The leaves can be harvested throughout the summer, but are sweetest in early autumn/fall when the weather gets cooler and flowering begins.

  1. Cut the plants at the base leaving 15cm for them to grow again.
  2. Wash under running water.
  3. Pick the leaves. The leaves are much sweeter than the stem. The stem is not used and should be placed in the compost pile.
  4. Let the leaves dry. Some people use a dehydrator, but leaves dry well on their own and there is no need to use electricity. They can be dried indoors or open air, preferably in the shade. The drying time will depend on the air temperature. Ideally, leaves can be left to dry for a fortnight.


When the leaves are well dried, it is time to move on to extracting the powder. The process is quite simple:

  1. To grind the leaves, use a food processor or a coffee grinder.
  2. To make a very fine powder, use a sieve.

Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place.

How to Use

Both stevia liquid and powder can be stored for several years. You can also store the dried leaves and grind as needed.

Because it is sweeter than sugar, each use requires only a small amount. 3 to 4 teaspoons of stevia powder is equivalent to 1 cup of refined sugar, so when using stevia for cooking, you need to keep in mind that the amounts, texture and properties will be different.

The uses in food are many. From sweetening coffee, tea and juice, to making sweets, baking or roasting.

To sweeten, it can be used in 3 ways:

In powder form: crushed dried leaves to sweeten drinks.

In liquid form: also used to sweeten drinks or confectionery. You can use the extract already made or make an infusion.

Fresh leaves: the leaves are sweet and can be added to fruit salad or tea. They can also be used for making sweet and sour sauce, seasonings and cooking.

So, we hope we have helped clear up many doubts that have arisen about stevia.

Until the next post... take care!

Sem comentários:

Enviar um comentário