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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Homemade Stevia Extract Recipe

I try to make our home be as healthy as possible, and I try to eat and feed my kids as healthily as possible, but I'll be honest, we do cheat sometimes and eat things less than ideal. The one absolute no no in our home, that we won't compromise on, no ifs, ands, or buts, are artificial sugars like sucralose, splenta, aspartame, and the like. No matter what, we won't ingest those things in any way, shape or form.
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.

Ingredients:
Dried stevia leaves
Vodka. Simple is fine. If you are gluten sensitive, make sure your vodka is gluten free.

Instructions:
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 WaysAllergy Free Wednesday

6 comments:

  1. I made it! But it seems to have a strong alcoholic aftertaste. I've seen recipes where it is cooked after steeped. Does this remove that aftertaste? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Are you sure the aftertaste is alcohol? Because stevia leaves themselves have a strong aftertaste that some people don't like. Cooking this will not boil off the alcohol- it will concentrate it more- no reason to cook it....

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  2. Hi where did you find this recipe? All of the other ones I've seen said to not steep longer than 72 hours because the liquid will become bitter. Also said not to squeeze.

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  3. we also try to do without sugar and we have been using stevia for some time now. but i read this article http://www.thepaleomom.com/2013/03/teaser-excerpt-from-the-paleo-approach-the-trouble-with-stevia.html a few days ago and started wondering about it. what do you think about this?

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  4. So I read similarly. In short, I think there probably aren't any sweeteners that are 100% ok. I think if you overdo it, you'll have problems. I think its best to mix and match your sweeteners, don't use all one thing, and in general try to limit sweeteners. I use stevia here and there for drinks. Won't use it daily or even once or twice a week- more like once every week at most, or once a month in a drink recipe... Coconut sugar is my go to sweetener, but its expensive, so i limit that too...

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  5. can the extract be made without vodka?

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