What do you use to sweeten your food and drinks? You’ll probably answer sugar or one of those well-known brands of artificial sweeteners, but have you heard of liquid stevia extract? A lot of people nowadays use it as a substitute to sugar because it is all natural and has zero calories. You can buy it from health stores or on the Internet. If you’re on a strict budget or you just want to save some money, it will be helpful to know how to prepare your own liquid stevia extract.
What is Stevia?
Stevia can actually come in different forms: fresh stevia leaves, dried leaves, powdered, and, of course, liquid concentrate. Whatever form it takes, what doesn’t change is the fact that the sweetness extracted from the stevia plant is several times sweeter than sugar. Hence, even the tiniest amount of stevia in any form can have a huge sweetness impact!
Liquid stevia concentrate can be produced in a number of ways. Boiling the leaves of the stevia plant in water results in a thick black syrup that can be used to enhance the flavour of various dishes. You can also steep the leaves in distilled water or a mixture of grain alcohol and water. Another way is to dissolve the white powder form of stevia in water then preserve the mixture with grapefruit seed extract.
Creating Your Stevia Liquid Extract:
Similar to preparing herbal tinctures, liquid stevia concentrate is quite simple to make. You just need finely chopped dried stevia leaves and vodka. You can either grow your own stevia plant or buy dried leaves from herbal, health, or online stores.
If you have the plant in your backyard or garden, harvest and wash it before using it. Separate the leaves from the stems. These leaves contain most of the stevia’s glycosides – the substance that makes them sweet. Dry them in the sun or use a dehydrator until they are crisp. Once crisp, chop the dried leaves finely, but not to the point of turning them into powder. When turned into powder, it will be more difficult to filter out, plus residue will be formed and will sink at the bottom of the extract.
Put the chopped leaves in a glass jar and pour vodka that’s enough to coat them. You may be wondering why vodka? It is because the extracted glycosides will be much sweeter than using water for extracting them. You can use other liquors, such as rum, but vodka is the best choice as it is cheap and has less flavour than other alcoholic beverages.
Cover the jar and shake it. Let it sit for one to three days, shaking it from time to time, but do not go beyond 36 hours because we don’t want your extract to have a bitter taste. Filter out the leaves by using a cheese cloth or a coffee filter.
After the filtering process, you have two choices:
1) You can store the liquid stevia extract with vodka. Transfer it in a colored glass bottle to decrease the light and keep it in a dark place with room temperature. This can last for two to four years!
2) You can separate the alcohol from the extract by heating it over low heat for 20 minutes up to half an hour. Remember not to boil it, though. Boiling the extract will cause the glycosides to overheat and lose their sweetness. The longer the extract is heated, the thicker it becomes. When using an electric stove, 20 minutes is the ideal time to heat it. Pour the extract into a colored glass bottle and keep it in your refrigerator. This can last for around three months.
As mentioned earlier, only a small amount of liquid stevia extract is needed to sweeten food or beverages. Therefore, the ideal glass bottles to use are those meant for tinctures and have droppers, so it is easier to control your use of stevia. You can now use this liquid stevia concentrate to make a variety of desserts like ice cream, pies, cakes, and other sweet treats. You can also use a drop or two to sweeten your tea, coffee, and other drinks.
There you go, isn’t making your own liquid stevia concentrate easy? You can share this recipe with your friends or other people who are looking for a natural sweetener to replace sugar. With this homemade concentrate, you can save money, improve your blood sugar levels, and simply enjoy having a sweet tooth!
Category: Stevia Recipes