Farming with Cianna

Farming with Cianna

Thursday, August 4, 2016


You may have heard of Stevia before. It's a sugar substitute extracted from the leaves of a Stevia plant, and is becoming popular again. Companies like Coca-Cola use a Stevia-Sugar mix to sweeten their products. Many people prefer Stevia over other "sugar imposters" such as Splenda or Sweet'N Low. It does not mess with blood glucose, which makes it attractive to people with Diabetes or controlled diets.
Stevia has no calories, but don't let that fool you. Total intake should still be managed; eating too much could make you gain weight as easily as too much sugar. Surprisingly, 1 tsp of Stevia = 1 cup of sugar, so be careful how much you add!
Fun Fact: Packaged Stevia is not necessarily straight Stevia. Many companies mix other compounds to lower the cost.
To avoid eating unknown substances, I make my own! Keeping reading to find out how to plant, harvest, and blend your own substitute!

I bought one Bonnie Stevia plant from Lowe's at the beginning of  Summer. I now have 6 different plants because they multiply themselves.  The plant I had purchased was a little wilted and in desperate need of water. Bonnie's website has a great list of tips for raising each type of plant they sell. ( I went to the website and did some research on the plant since I have never raised one before. I did what the website said to do and it only took one night for it to recover after being replanted and watered! Obviously, since it revived so fast, it is super easy to take care of! That's good news for people who have a hard time keeping plants alive, like my mom ( :

After growing all Summer, I decided it was time to harvest the leaves and finally make some sweetener! 
They do taste a tad bit better in cooler weather, but it is also bitterish after the plant blooms flowers, so I am going to get as many batches as I can.

 The leaves should get about 5-8 inches long (some shorter, some longer) before harvesting. The website says to cut the entire stem with the leaves on it, but I simply just detach the leaves and leave the stem. The leaves will regrow in their place. 

For my first batch of powder, I collected around 10 leaves. Of course you can use more, I was just experimenting, so I didn't want to waste any. 
Making your own blend is super easy!

 After you have harvested your leaves, thoroughly wash them. You don't want bugs or dirt in your substitute!

Completely dry them.

The easiest way to dry out the Stevia is to lay them on a dry towel, paper towel, cloth, or screen. Place outside in a place the sun can completely remove all moisture, or in a dry spot in the house.

Once completely dried, use a blender or Ninja to completely break the leaves into tiny grains.
Use to sweeten foods and drinks. Please note that Stevia grains do not fully dissolve, but they make a great sweetener!

You can also make your own Stevia extract by adding a cup of warm water to 1/4 cup of Stevia grains. Let mixture set for 24 hours and then refrigerate. The extract can also be used to sweeten foods and beverages.

There are so many things Stevia is used for. Baking is one of them.
It does sweeten everything without using very much, but keep in mind that it doesn't carmelize.
 See what all the buzz is about! Try it out for yourself!