Sugar. What hasn’t been said about this white dusty enemy? There are moments where sugar consumption is inevitable; however, since the dawn of this year I have endeavored to cut it out of my life, which has proved challenging, to say the least. Sugar is everywhere, from your Starbucks latte to your morning piece of toast; and the negative effects of consuming sugar can be seen everywhere as well, from tooth decay to obesity to mood disorders and skin problems…the list could go on forever.
Now initially I didn’t like the idea of stevia, I thought that it fell into the same category as Splenda, Sugar Twin and the like; however, the leaves of this perennial shrub contain a chemical called stevioside and the compound in the leaves is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. And not only do these leaves provide a natural sweetness to whatever your sweet heart desires, they also don’t contribute to any of the aforementioned health problems; and, instead, contain potassium, zinc, magnesium and B3- which is why I chose to blend up the leaves as opposed to steeping them.
So how did I get my hands on stevia? Well, I have a friend with a thumb almost as green as a stevia leaf; and he so kindly grew the plant for me. But you need not have a green thumb to grow your own; the stevia plant is adaptable and easily grown in the ground or in a pot on your balcony, all you need is sun exposure.
Let there be light said the stevia; and it grew!
Stevia powder, it’s most common conception, is made by drying the leaves and grinding them up; but I chose to steep, blend and strain leaves to make my own homemade stevia syrup for two reasons;
- I was far too impatient to wait for the leaves to dehydrate
- I like liquids, I feel that I have more control of my portion size; and considering stevia is ever so sweet, portion size is king
Ah Stevia, you are proof that Mother Nature’s bounty is all we need!
Homemade Stevia Syrup with Vanilla
½ oz stevia leaves
1 cup water
½ tsp organic vanilla extract
In a pot bring all ingredients to boil. Remove from heat and steep the leaves for 10 minutes. Add all ingredients in a blender and blend well combine. Strain the liquid and discard the pulp. Liquid keeps in the refrigerator for at least a month.