The 911 on How to Harvest Stevia
In an earlier post entitled, Growing Your Own Herbs Successfully, I discussed how to grow your own Stevia plants. Here are the same plants, just a few months later, ready for their first harvest!
- In a warm climate, Stevia will grow to 2’ or more and will be ready to harvest; in cooler climates they will grow to about 16” at harvest time.
- Depending on your area, Stevia can be harvested 2 to 4 times each year.
- You want to cut the plant down, leaving only a small part of the stem remaining above ground level. The plant will grow back. (While you’re at it, taste one of the leaves; it tastes delicious, so sweet!)
- The leaves and stems will be covered in a white down.
- The best way to dry fresh Stevia is to hang it and air-dry it.
- Drying Stevia plants is not a quick process. It took my Stevia 5 days to dry completely. If the leaves feel dry and the stems break off easily, you’re done.
- I tied the stems will a rubber band and used an old plant hanger to hang the plants from a light fixture.
- Hang to dry in a room that is airy with circulating air.
PROCESSING THE LEAVES AFTER DRYING
- Remove the stems and do not use them. They are not sweet! Use the leaves only!
- I have found the best way to grind the leaves small and fine is to use a blender. Blend the batch about one minute. You will notice “smoke” coming from your blender. It is the dust of the leaves and you will smell the sweetness!
- Sift the ground dry Stevia powder through a sieve into your airtight container to remove any pieces that may remain.
- You will end up with a beautiful green Stevia powder.
- This green Stevia powder, stored in an airtight container, will not mold or ferment and can be stored indefinitely.
- Green Stevia: When organic Stevia is grown, harvested, dried, ground and stored it is 10-15 times sweeter than sugar. This pure Stevia will be green with no bitter aftertaste. You may be accustomed to using Stevia that is white which is actually extract, now you are using pure Stevia!
A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY
This picture of beautiful just cut Stevia yielded about 1/3 cup of dried Stevia powder. But, if you’ve used Stevia before, you know a little Stevia goes a long way!