Our family cut out white sugar from our diet (for the most part, anyhow), and you might think that I'd use artificial sweeteners as flavorings now, but don't you worry, I'm sticking to my guns as much as ever about that, even when not eating regular sugar.
The sweeteners we use in our house are honey, both raw and cooked, date syrup, dates, frozen bananas, apple juice concentrate, and molasses. These work well in a variety of recipes, only there are two issues with them- they aren't so cheap, and they're still high in sugars/carbs and can mess with your blood sugar.
Stevia is a chemical free sweetener that is carb free. Stevia is a plant who's leaves are sweet despite not actually containing any sugars of any sort, which makes it a decent sugar replacement in recipes.
Or not. Because though the leaves are sweet, you can't stick them as is into your recipes- it won't work.
I have seen that they sell powdered stevia, but I don't trust that it really is chemical free, and in fact, I think I heard that its mixed with maltodextrin, corn sugar, so its not exactly free of carbs.
Stevia extract, on the other hand, is a liquid that is very sweet and very strong- a little bit goes a long way, and it can be used in a whole slew of recipes in place of sugar- only a few drops needed in each recipe. Stevia extract can be quite pricey, and honestly, it doesn't taste so great, at least not the brands that I tried.
Here's how you can make your own homemade liquid stevia extract, cheaper than buying it in the store, and very easy to make as well.
Dried stevia leaves
Vodka. Simple is fine. If you are gluten sensitive, make sure your vodka is gluten free.
1. Fill a jar most of the way with dried stevia leaves. Cover leaves with just enough vodka to cover them. Cover the jar and leave on the counter to seep for 6 weeks.
2. At the end of the 6 weeks, your vodka should have become this brownish/greenish color.
3. Pour the lot into a cheesecloth, and strain. Collect the liquid.
4. Twist the cheesecloth and again, collect the liquid, this time via squeezing as much liquid as possible from the leaves.
5. This here is my stevia extract. It's ready to be used. You only need a few drops to sweeten a very large dish.
Have you ever used stevia before? Liquid or powdered or leaves? What recipes does stevia work with?
Have you ever tried making your own stevia extract? Does this seem like something you'd make?
Do you use artificial sugars? Why or why not?
If you cut out white sugar, what is your reason for doing so?
Linking up to Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Allergy Free Wednesday