Stevia

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Odsox
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Stevia

Post: #267526 Odsox
Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:12 pm

I am just getting to grips with Stevia.
As I knew nothing about growing Stevia and information on the web about growing it in northern Europe was pretty much non-existent, I planted mine in various locations to see which it preferred.
It seems to not be too fussy, as long as it was well watered and kept reasonably warm it thrived and although I didn't plant any outside, I feel in a better summer than we had this year, it would have thrived outside too.

Now I have started to harvest it and I think I now have it sussed. I first tried the leaves just dried and powdered, which sort of worked but left a lot to be desired. My main need is for a sugar free sweetener for baking, cakes, buns and puddings and although the powdered leaf did the sweetening job, it did flavour the cake with a sort of vague vegetable hint and also made a cake with a greenish speckles.

The second try was making a tincture with alcohol and that works a treat. I filled a jar with dried chopped leaves and covered it with really cheap vodka, shook it occasionally, left it for 24 hours and then strained it.
The result is an incredibly sweet green liquid that is used at 2 drops = 1 teaspoon of sugar.
OH made a batch of cherry buns on Saturday and the result was fantastic, the green colour disappeared as soon as it was mixed in and the buns were the right texture with no weird after taste.

I think I might have grown a bit too many plants though, I have 20 plants and I harvested 2 to get half a litre of sweetener. :iconbiggrin:
Tony

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Re: Stevia

Post: #267527 oldjerry
Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:27 pm

Good Stuff,I'll try some myself next season on the strength of that. Sow inside with a bit if bottom heat Tony?

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Re: Stevia

Post: #267528 Odsox
Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:44 pm

Yes Jerry, I sowed mine early March at around 20c ... takes about 3 days to germinate and grows to about 2' 6" - 3'
Tony

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Re: Stevia

Post: #267529 Green Aura
Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:38 pm

Is there no bitter aftertaste? I bought some liquid stevia (supposedly no bitterness) and it's vile. :pukeright:
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Re: Stevia

Post: #267530 Odsox
Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:05 pm

Green Aura wrote:Is there no bitter aftertaste? I bought some liquid stevia (supposedly no bitterness) and it's vile. :pukeright:

Absolutely none Maggie, it looks disgusting (green) but diluted there's no bitterness.
I didn't bother boiling off the alcohol because I thought a few drops is neither here nor there, and I did see on the net that it can make it bitter if you heat it too vigorously.
Tony

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Re: Stevia

Post: #267535 trinder
Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:24 pm

Yippee vodka tea :icon_smile:
One little problem I don't take sugar in my tea! Oh I know I'll not put the stevia leaves in. xx
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Re: Stevia

Post: #267545 Zech
Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:46 am

I bought a small plant out of curiosity (as well as the tarragon that I was actually looking for). When I tasted a leaf, it was exactly like artificial sweetener, which I can't stand. Now the plant's going crazy and I don't know what to do with it. The guy who sold it to me said that cuttings take well, so maybe I'll do that and sell the plants on.
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Re: Stevia

Post: #267546 gregorach
Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:57 am

I suspect this may be one of those things that varies from person to person - sensitivity to bitter flavours is actually highly variable, with a strong genetic component.

Apparently most people can't detect any bitterness from artificial sweeteners. I haven't tried stevia, but I can spot aspartame at twenty paces...
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Re: Stevia

Post: #267548 Odsox
Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:34 am

I'm sure you're right Gregorach.
If I eat or drink Aspartame I can taste it for the rest of the day. Saccharine is pretty much the same and Maltose gives me an after taste for an hour or so.
ALL commercial artificial sweeteners give me an after taste with the exception of Truvia, which is expensive and unobtainable in Ireland.

Either way, I'm very happy with my Stevia and it appeals to my self sufficiency life style.
It's a pity I can't distil the vodka myself, although a tasteless high alcohol home brew wine might work.
Tony

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Re: Stevia

Post: #267565 JaneEm
Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:09 pm

The taste difference could also be individual plants - I've read that they vary a lot in sweetness and in taste.
Following a brain op., my partner has been left with damaged nerves to her taste buds and tastes all sugar as salt. Stevia has turned out to be a way of sweetening that doesn't taste dreadful.

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Re: Stevia

Post: #267566 Ellendra
Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:34 pm

Odsox wrote:I didn't bother boiling off the alcohol because I thought a few drops is neither here nor there, and I did see on the net that it can make it bitter if you heat it too vigorously.



So that's what causes it! Thank you, with that bit of info I'm taking stevia off my "not worth it" list. I'd never found any that wasn't too bitter to bother with.

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Re: Stevia

Post: #267645 demi
Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:19 pm

A friend gave me a packet of stevia seeds which i didn't plant this summer as we had no space for them. I'v read mixed reviews about it too, to do with the taste. But i like the sound of putting it in alcohol if that solves the weird taste issue. I'll probably use some rakia we're making from the grapes this year. Also, I thought I'd have to plant a lot, there's a lot of seeds in the packet, but if it's that concentrated then a guess a couple of plants will do, which wont take up much space. Maybe i could do them in pots.......


EDIT:

Ah, I also have a question :mrgreen: If you use it for baking does it not effect the texture of the sponge? There is chemistry behind cooking and fiddleing with the indridients alters the final product, obviously.
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Re: Stevia

Post: #267646 GeorgeSalt
Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:29 pm

gregorach wrote:I suspect this may be one of those things that varies from person to person - sensitivity to bitter flavours is actually highly variable, with a strong genetic component.

Apparently most people can't detect any bitterness from artificial sweeteners. I haven't tried stevia, but I can spot aspartame at twenty paces...


It's like PTC (phenylthiocarbamide).. I can taste it but many can't. It's purely down to genetics. I also find aspartame very bitter and catches the back of the throught in anything other than very moderate quantities.
Curently collecting recipes for The Little Book of Liqueurs..

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Re: Stevia

Post: #267647 demi
Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:40 pm

GeorgeSalt wrote:
gregorach wrote:I suspect this may be one of those things that varies from person to person - sensitivity to bitter flavours is actually highly variable, with a strong genetic component.

Apparently most people can't detect any bitterness from artificial sweeteners. I haven't tried stevia, but I can spot aspartame at twenty paces...


It's like PTC (phenylthiocarbamide).. I can taste it but many can't. It's purely down to genetics. I also find aspartame very bitter and catches the back of the throught in anything other than very moderate quantities.



I hate artificial sweetners too. I can totally tell the difference. Makes my tea taste funny :?
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0

'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

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Re: Stevia

Post: #267684 southeast-isher
Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:16 am

I didn't like stevia though i wanted to. Xylitol is excellent!


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