Stevia, anybody?

cyrus_gardner(8)May 20, 2009

STEVIA, The sweetness of the mother nature.

I have heard about this wonderous plant(stevia), its sweetness that is. It is amazingly sweet with no calories.

Finally, last December FDA has approved it as sweetner.

Before that it was only sold as supplement.I have heard that Cocola Co is jumping on it to use as No-calori sweetner.

I am not a diabete but I would like to cut downt on my sugar consumption in coffee and tea but I have always dislike thed man made caloriless sweetners.

The reason for starting this thrad is to find out if anybody in GA Gardennining forum is growing STEVIA. If so, where you got them from. I prefer local source rather than internet order. I have a bad experience aout internet/mail order plant purchase. They show you a beautiful picture and send you something that is nowhere near that picture.

Thanks in advance.

Cyrus

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opal52(z7b GA)

You can get seeds for Stevia at Park Seed. Still an internet order, but I have had very good experience with everything I have bought from them.

I think lots of companies are beginning to use a sweetener based on a derivative of the stevia plant. I tried Trop50, an orange juice drink, which uses Purevia Sweetner. It had a knock you head off sweet taste. A little too sweet for me. It was the first time I had tried anything sweetened with the commercial version of stevia so I learned just how intensely sweet it can taste. I've never tried leaves from the plant though, so maybe they are just as sweet.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 1:38PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Thanks Opal

If I could not buy the plant locally, then I will get the seeds. I wonder how long it will take to grow a plant from seed. I will search the net to find out.

By the way, the extact taken from stevia is said to be like 200 times sweeter than sugar if I remember it correctly. But for home use fresh leave or ground dry leave powder is enough. Even then it is much sweeter than sugar by weight.

Thanks again.
Cyrus

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 3:55PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

it is definitely sweet. our office stocks the fridge with Coke products...we have the new Vitamin Water with Truvia (which is Stevia, as I recall). Even with the mild sweetness there, it is too darn sweet for me.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 7:28PM
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strudeldog_gw

A few weeks ago both Lowes and Home Depot had in outdoor gardens with the Herbs in the small 4 inch pots

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:29PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Thanks strudeldog

I will check those stores.

About sweetness:
Of course you can control the sweetness by how much you use it, just like sugar.
This is a wonder herb for calori watchers and diabetes.

Question: does anybody know whether Stevia is a perenial or annual?
Thanks
Cyrus

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 12:31AM
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young-gardener

I am growing Stevia! I was shocked when I saw it at our local nursery, because I hadn't heard about the approval. I snatched up a plant right away. It was very small when I got it a month ago, and now it's quite large. The soil in my herb garden isn't great, but it's thriving. I like to munch on the leaves. :)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 5:39PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Couple of days ago I went to HD, on strudledog's advice, and there they were. I bought three pots. each pot had three plants nicely space. I planted couple of them as it was and devided the other.
When I tasted a bit of the leave before buying I was amazed as how sweet it was. Because the sweetness is not metabolized (converted into calories) it leaves a long after tast if not diluted, which is fine. I am going to let the plants get bigger and then dry the leave. It is hard to get sweetness out of fresh leaves unless it is really crushed.
I think that this is an amazing plant, especially for the diabetes and calori watchers.

cyrus

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 5:50PM
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jeff_al

aren't these almost tropical in nature?
would the overwinter in zone 8?
i saw (and tasted) some in a botanical garden near gainsville, florida some years ago.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 11:42AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Jeff, I am not sure, but probably it is going to be an annual around here. In that case it has to be grown from seeds every year just like basil.
The plant's origin is Paraguay. Probably it is either tropical or subtropical

I m goin to check GW's main forum on this.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 6:11PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Jeff,
My serch indicated that since stevia is a subtropical plant, will not over winter at deep frost condition. So you have to cut the top off ,down to ground, in the fall and keep the root in a cold plave in pearlite and plant it next year.
Also you can start from seed. but it has been experienced that seeds have very low germination rate'. You can root cuttings and make more plants

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 12:33AM
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jeff_al

i picked up 2 pots of it at lowe's yesterday. i like growing different things and this one qualifies as uncommon to me. i probably won't do anything with it (like process for the sweet extract) except munch on a leaf when i pass it but it's just something different. i also read on a web site that it can be grown where citrus can be grown. i have a loquat tree that is getting quite tall so maybe stevia can survive winter here in zone 8. other gardeners tell me we can grow satsumas and kumquats here, too, but i think they need a protected site. my loquat is growing in an exposed site.
i wonder if using a fresh leaf in a cup of hot tea would bring out the sweetness without a lot of bruising?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 12:07PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Jeff,
You do not need to draw extrat out of it.
All you have to do is dry the leaves then put them in your coffee grinder and pulveriz. Put this powder in a non-glass container (dark)and use it to sweeten your coffee, add to recepies that call for sugar, etc.
Extraction is very involved and not practical for home use.

I am neither a diabetic nor a serious weight watcher, But I like to cut down on sugar in my coffee. I like my coffee black, robust and sweet. That is why I use a lot of sugar.
Stevia, in addition to being a "got to have one" plant is also useful.
cyrus

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 8:40PM
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mudsnake(8B)

My Stevia survived several 15 degree F. nights this past winter. It is about 8 years old, and has survived many such nights.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 11:39PM
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theras_garden

I've grown 2 stevia plants for several years now. They always come back bigger every year. We swore it was a gonner with the 12F temp we had earlier this year, but both plants are vigorously growing and are about 2 feet high right now. The dried leaf is supposed to be about 30X sweeter than sugar. Typically, you wait til fall and right before the 1st frost, cut it down to ground and harvest leaves. Let the leaves dry in cool place (I just lay them out on old window screen for a day or two) and then you can crush or keep whole for use. Requires a lot of testing to get the right sweetness though.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 12:38PM
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justin_walker

This is some great information on the stevia plant. My wife is a bit of a health nut, and loves to use natural organic ingredients when she can. I was wondering about harvesting and overwintering our plants that are tucked in a nice corner of a raised bed I built this year, and here is the information I wanted! By the way this is my first post. Thank ya folks for all the good info!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 11:47PM
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jeff_al

wonder why a non-glass container?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 3:58PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Posted by jeff_al 8 AL (My Page) on Fri, Jun 19, 09 at 15:58
wonder why a non-glass container?

jeff,
if you are referribg to my comments, the explanation is that a tranparent glass container will expose the contents to light and that can cause chemical action.
Most herbs are best kept in nontransparent container.

LATEST REPORT:
my stevia plants are doing great. Their stems have grown thick(size of pencil). I am going to pinch the tips off to encourage more latteral branches.
cyrus

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 3:22AM
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pngwin21(7)

I have organic stevia seeds in stock that I germinate and grow

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 3:07PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Hi all

Exactly 3 months ago I started this thread. I had then just planted some STEVIA, bought from HD.

Today I noticed that some of them getting ready to flower.
Good news, I can save seeds for more, if my current ones did not survive over the winter.

Does anybody here know when to harvest stevia, before flowering or after??
Amazingly, my plants did very well. They are about 2- 2.5 feet tall. I learned that I should stake them and water them more frequently, even more than basils.

I have just made a dehyrater and I am learning the trade of dehyrating mostly vegetable. I have just dried a batch of leeks, basils, parsley and marjoram. So I am well prepared to dry my stevias as well.

Cyrus

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 10:25PM
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