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Tips on Preparing Stevia Leaves

Growing stevia can be a challenge for some people, so if you’ve successfully grown stevia plants on your garden then congratulations are in order. Now you are ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor – using stevia leaves as a natural sweetener. Some people actually use the leaves straight from the plant, mixing it in with their drinks. But if you want to prepare your stevia leaves so that you can use it longer then here are tips you can follow to make the whole process of preparing stevia leaves easier.

• Before you pick your stevia leaves make sure that they are full-grown. Leaves that are about two inches long and about three quarters of an inch in width are considered mature. A fully mature leaf will give you an immediate sweet taste once you chew on it.

• Cut the leaves at the stems. Leaves can be picked all year round but for optimum taste, a September harvest is recommended.

• You have two choices for drying. The best method, which is also the cheapest but takes more time, is to dry the leaves under the sun. But if you want to save time you can dry the leaves inside an over. Putting the leaves on a tray and turning the oven on for 20 minutes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) should be enough. Another option that is available to you if you have the right equipment is to dehydrate it. You can do this if you have a dehydrator – just dry the leaves for two hours at 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius.

• Drying is only good if you want to turn the leaves into a powder. If you plan to make stevia extract, only fresh leaves can be used.

• Once the leaves are dry. Remove all of the stems. The sweetness is only concentrated oseptembern the leaves.

Zach is a writer who has a passion for gardening and cooking. He grows his own herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme and tarragon. He recently started planting stevia in his garden.

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