The liquid form of the popular natural sweetener stevia can be easily made by yourself, as often as you like. Here’s all you need to know about it.
Stevia is an extract from a plant of the same name. It is commonly used as a sweetener in various foods and products. The liquid form of this herb, known as liquid stevia, can be easily prepared at home if you have trouble finding the product in the market. In fact, the stevia plant can be grown at home.
Stevia is known to be about 300 times sweeter than sugar, without causing any changes to the body’s glycemic index. This is why it is also recommended as an alternative sweetening agent for diabetics. Unlike other artificial sweeteners, stevia in its liquid form does not leave behind an aftertaste, and these are only few of its benefits. Though the flavor that you achieve by using sugar in its different forms such as brown sugar may be missing, you aren’t really giving up on much by choosing to add liquid stevia to your cup of coffee instead of sugar.
Using Liquid Stevia Instead of Sugar
Liquid stevia is known to be able to withstand high temperatures, which is why you can safely use it in the process of baking and cooking instead of sugar. Now, the concern is how much you should substitute it with. Take a look.
- 1 teaspoon sugar = 2 drops of liquid stevia
- 1 tablespoon sugar = 6 drops of liquid stevia
- 1 cup sugar = 1 teaspoon liquid stevia
The concern with using stevia in cooking and baking instead of sugar is the loss of bulk and texture that sugar gives to the food. In such a case, you will have to use other ingredients to make up for the lost bulk. For instance, chefs suggest using plain yogurt, applesauce, banana purée, unsweetened fruit juice, egg whites, or even milk or water to make up for the lost bulk. However, ensure that the flavors of these products will not largely affect the flavor of the meal that you are preparing.
You can purchase varieties of flavored liquid stevia from the market to add that additional zing to the food you are cooking, to jazz up a cocktail, or as a simple flavor enhancer for your cup of coffee. These flavors include cinnamon, grape, chocolate, peppermint, root beer, apricot, toffee, vanilla, orange, lemon, chocolate raspberry, berry, hazelnut, and several others.
How to Make Liquid Stevia
Because a lot of you may find liquid stevia and its flavored varieties quite expensive, here’s how you can easily make this natural sugar substitute and sweetener on your own. If you have a stevia plant at home, it will be easier to follow this process. Pick out a good amount of leaves and dry them for a couple of days. Else, you may buy dried stevia leaves that are easily available at health food stores.
- Crumble the dried leaves thoroughly.
- Place them in a deep pan.
- Pour 4 cups of hot (not boiling) water for every 1 tablespoon of dried leaves.
- Allow the leaves to steep for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not steep for too long or it will make the liquid bitter.
- Strain the liquid into a bottle with a dropper.
- Refrigerate the liquid and use as and when required.
Apart from using dried stevia leaves, you may also use the powdered stevia extract. You may do this by mixing together 1 teaspoon of stevia extract with 3 teaspoons of water. Follow the 1:3 ratio while using this process. Store in a bottle with a dropper.
Though it has been said that stevia in all its forms is a great alternative to sugar for diabetics, it is a good idea to consult a dietitian or your doctor before you start consuming it. This is because a lot of studies have shown that you may be prone to some side effects upon its excess consumption. You may miss sugar initially, but liquid stevia can be a healthier alternative to your weight and sugar problems. Consider using it and see how you feel.