Tagged: Stevia

Almost Sugar Free Stevia Lemonade

I know it is a little late in the season for a lemonade recipe, but my stevia plants have grown like crazy this summer and I am in the process of figuring out what to do with them.

What is stevia?
Stevia is a plant that naturally grows in south america and southern untied states, where people have used the leaves to sweeten food for hundreds of years. It is a unique among herbs because it’s most valued for what it doesn’t do. It does not add calories.

Here is my Almost Sugar Free Stevia Lemonade recipe
– two or three lemons
– twenty fresh stevia leaves
– one to two tsp. sugar

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Mash up sugar and stevia leaves in mortar and pestle until you have created a paste. Mix with juice from two or three lemons. Add about four to six cups of water to taste.

“Why the little bit of sugar?” you may ask. I find it helps break up the stevia leaves into a paste and helps boost the flavour.

Yes, this recipe involves growing stevia in your garden as fresh stevia is not often sold in markets. So make a note for next spring when planting season begins.

The result is somewhat earthy in terms of taste, as stevia does tend to have an earthy flavour. My family including my four year old son Wyatt loves to drink Almost Sugar Free Stevia Lemonade.

For fun this summer Wyatt and I did Almost Sugar Free Stevia Lemonade market research which involved setting up an Almost Sugar Free Stevia Lemonade stand and asking for people’s feedback. About 80% of the people who tried said they liked it including lots of kids! This is good news to us parents trying to be conscientious about reducing sugar in our children’s diet.

Of note, is that I find fresh stevia tastes completely different then powered stevia. I actually can’t stand the taste of powdered stevia. So do not be turned off growing stevia because of the taste of the powdered version.

Do not be scared off stevia because of its controversial past. In the 1990s artificial sweetener companies, due to fear of competition from a natural product, lobbied against stevia and were able to get the FDA to say it was dangerous. Since then FDA has approved its use.

Read more about this at:
http://nutritionwonderland.com/2009/02/stevia-controversy/

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What will I do with my big stevia plant in the winter? I plan to make and freeze stevia paste in useable portions so we can enjoy its use all year long. Along with using stevia paste in lemonade, I also have used it in baking cookies and in popsicles.