Sunday, October 5, 2008

Stevia

When I first heard of the sugar free sweetener herb called stevia, (in the mid 90s), I couldn't wait to try it. It was fairly inexpensive, a couple of bucks for a bottle of green powder that was super sweet with a weird almost bitter aftertaste. I used some in tea and experimented with it in baking, it was good in the tea but really nasty in any baking I did. (I later learned that sugar not only tastes good, but it improves the texture of baked goods.) A friend of ours at the time had a fresh stevia plant, and she liked to put it in her pasta sauce...

When T and I were on a candida diet and were trying to eliminate sugar, we bought a bottle of white powdered stevia to sweeten our coffee, over 10 years later that's what we still use.

We tried the alcohol based extract, if any got on the threads of the cap it would glue the bottle shut.

The glycerite stevia is great for making lemonade or iced tea, tho a little sticky and messy for separate cups of coffee or tea and it gets less sweet the longer it's been open...

There are little packets of stevia that mimic packets of real sugar or artificial sweetener, but I always found them to get all hard before the box was done.

More recently I've found these little stevia and chromium pills that are super convenient and easy to measure but cost more per serving and I'm not quite sure what the chromium is for...

Here's my lemonade recipe:
I put some ice cubes in a quart jar, juice a couple of organic lemons and pour over the ice cubes, squirt in 2 or 3 droppers full of stevia glycerite and fill the jar to the brim with filtered water. Stir with a wooden spoon, taste and adjust lemon and stevia accordingly, adding more of sweet or tart as you like it... This makes a great slushie w/ lots of ice and extra lemon and stevia.
(T likes his w/ less sweetener and a bit of vodka... I like mine w/ more stevia and H2O... ;)

For a strawberry smoothie, put frozen strawberries in a blender w/ some stevia and ricemilk, (if I could get local raw milk I would happily use that instead), and blend. Too many berries and you'll get an almost solid sorbet-like dessert you can eat w/ a spoon... mmmmm!

My current favorite iced tea is vanilla rooibos, (I got a bunch on sale), I just brew any yummy tea double strength, add the stevia while it's hot and pour it over ice after it's cooled down.

I also use stevia in my spelt/kamut pancakes and waffles, banana bread, punkin pie and crumble, but I can't post any decent recipes for those yet as I don't usually measure ingredients. I will try and measure next time I bake...

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