Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stevia Reboudiana - Sweetness from the Garden

Who knew I could grow stevia in my Southern California garden? To my surprise, there it was, tucked behind the parsley at my local nursery. I was intrigued to see it growing, having only seen it as a sugar substitute processed into a powder.

Stevia leaves are very sweet, containing glucosides which are 200-300 times more sweet by weight than sugar. The beauty is it has no calories and does not alter blood sugar levels, so it can be used by diabetics and those on a candida diet.

The plant, commonly known as sweetleaf, is a tender perennial which grows in subtropical zones 10 and 11. It prefers full sun or partial shade and grows to 1-2 feet high and wide.

I plan to use it to sweeten tea, or maybe I'll put a leaf in my morning fruit shake. It will be fun to experiment with it to see what other uses I find for this new addition to my garden.

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