Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DIY Stevia Extract

My husband and I have been using stevia rather than sugar for sweetening tea and coffee for a couple of years now.  I grew a stevia plant last year and didn't really know how to use it.  This year I'm trying to get creative and make sure to use all of our herbs for as many things as possible.  

For those of you who buy stevia at the store, you know how expensive it is!  The dried form is a little cheaper, but the liquid form (which we prefer the taste over the dried form) runs at least $10 a bottle.  Once you read how easy making your own is, you're gonna run out and buy yourself a $2 stevia plant that will keep on giving!

The tools are simple:  
1. Vodka (I used cheap vodka and it works great)
2.  Clean Stevia leaves, no stems
3.  Clean Jar
4. A dark bottle (I used and old stevia bottle, you could use an old extract bottle)
5. Coffee Filter
Put your stevia leaves into your jar.  I muddle them around just a little with the back of a spoon. Pour just enough vodka over the leaves to cover them.  Then keep it in a dark place for 2 days only, no longer.  If it sits longer than that it will get bitter.  I kept mine in my kitchen cabinet.

After the 2 days are up fit a coffee filter over a glass.  I used a rubber band to secure mine. 
You can see the leaves have turned a pale yellow by now.

Pour the liquid into the the glass through the coffee filter and strain the leaves.

I ring out any excess liquid left in the filter. You want every last drop of liquid.
Next, pour the liquid into a small sauce pan and simmer on medium low for 20-30 minutes.  DO NOT LET IT BOIL.  It will taste bitter and burnt if you let this mixture boil.  The point of simmering the liquid is to cook out the alcohol flavor, and it will reduce down about half.  This process brings forth even more particles, so its important to strain it one last time.  

I put one more coffee filter in a funnel and then pour the mixture through the funnel into your dark bottle.

I find this to be very concentrated, so you only need a couple of drops to sweeten coffee or tea.  Pretty sweet deal for next to nothing!  Enjoy!!

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