Friday, April 16, 2010

Growing Stevia Plant seedlings

Growing Stevia Plant seedlings is much like growing seedlings of other plants.  The Stevia seedlings will need even watering, a light source and humidity.  If you buy at a local garden center or order online Stevia seedlings they will be past the delicate 2 and 4 leaf stage.  As you grow your Stevia plant steedlings indoors before moving outdoors, if they get leggy (which means tall and lanky) pinch off the leggy part leaving at least 2 to 3 sets of leaves on the stalk. 
In this picture you can see that the Stevia plant seedling on the right has gotten leggy, the one on the left was pinched off about a week ago and is showing new branches sprouting from where the leaves grow from the main stem. 

When you move the seedling outside, place them in a shady area, make sure the night time temperatures will not dip below 45 degrees Farenheight.  Slowly expose them to morning or evening sun, slowly increasing the sun until they are able to be in the full sun without wilting or getting sunburned.  Keep them well watered.  This process is called hardening off. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stevia Recipe - Ricotta Stevia Citrus Spread

This Stevia recipe is a simple way to enjoy the healthy benefits of a low calorie lifestyle through the use of Stevia.  This is a versatile recipe which can be used on toast, bagels, biscuits, english muffins or any other bread.  If you are trying to eat a low calorie, high protein diet, pair this cheese based low calorie spread with double protein bread for a high protein breakfast.

1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 packet of Stevia Sweetener (In this case I used Truvia Stevia Sweetener)
Zest of one Clementine Orange (Use a cheese grater to remove the outermost rind of the orange.  It will be very fine.  Gather the rind from the cheese grater and place this into the Ricotta Cheese.)
One very small sprinkle of salt.
During the holidays - add a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Blend all ingredients together just before serving.

For diabetics who cannot eat the orange, place the rest of the left over orange outside in one of the birdfeeders designed to hold fruit pieces for song birds.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Growing Stevia Seeds

Spring is the time of the year to order your Stevia plant.  It grows in tropical climates so should be started inside by Stevia Seed then placed outside in a pot when the weather warms.  Consider buying Stevia Seeds along with a terrarium that will help the seeds thrive in the warmth and humidity that they prefer.

The DuneCraft Terrarium with Stevia seeds is just the Stevia plant starting set up that you need to have a Stevia crop this summer!

A Book about how to grow Stevia

This blog will be a source of information on growing Stevia plants, recipes with Stevia and how to incorporate Stevia into your diet.  This blog will also serve to hook you up with other valuable resources such as the book below.  35 Recipes and a full care guide for growing Stevia.  If you cannot wait for more blog posts and want to get all of the information you need now to cook with Stevia and to grow Stevia, this book may be for you.

How to Buy Stevia Sweetener

Stevia Sweetener comes in many forms and can be purchased for use as a healthy sweetener. The leaf of the Sweet Leaf or Sweetleaf plant, known by its botanical name of rebaudiana, is a healthy alternative to natural sugar and artificial sweeteners. It has also been speculated to have healthy benefits for high blood pressure and have very low impact on insulin or glucose in diabetics. As always, check with your doctor if you have any health conditions. Stevia is also for those that are losing weight. Decreasing sugar is a critical component to weight loss. The benefits of Stevia to weight loss is that it is a calorie free sweetener that is naturally occuring and not made in a laboratory. In fact you can buy the STevia plant and just add half a leaf to your coffee in the morning for a sugar free, artificial sweetener free start to the day with no added calories. Controlling calories is critical to weight loss and Stevia can help.

For those looking for a healthier lifestyle and the ability to enjoy sweet foods without the unhealthy effect of sugar and artificial sweeteners, the sweetener Stevia may be for you. It is the only known sweetener that is safe for diabetics. Stevia sweeteners come in different forms with the most popular being the Stevia powder which can be purchased in convenient Stevia sweetener packs and the liquid Stevia extract that is such a potent natural sweetener it is usually purchased in a bottle with an eyedropper.
The first step in deciding which Stevia sweetener that you will buy is to decide how you will use it in your food and diet. Stevia can be used in coffee and tea in place of sugar, in baked goods in place of sugar and every other type of cooking or baking. Depending on how you want to use it will influence if you buy the liquid Stevia extract, flavored liquid Stevia extract (vanilla, strawberry), Stevia powder or Stevia plant.

Buying Stevia sweetener as a powder is different than buying sugar. Because Stevia is so much sweeter than sugar you will not be buying Stevia sweetener is 5 pounds bags! The sizes of Stevia powder will be much smaller, even coming in convenient little packets for sweetening coffee and tea. When you explore how to cook with Stevia you will notice that recipes that may call for a half a cup or more of sugar will only have a teaspoon of Stevia. Using too much Stevia can result in food that tastes overly sweet and may have an aftertaste.

Liquid Stevia is also available commercially and available as clear extract but also as flavored liquid Stevia as well. Use a drop of the liquid form in coffee, tea, iced tea, smoothies, mixed drinks, fruit salds and other places where liquid sweetener would be appropriate.

Stevia sweetener can be purchased as a food supplement (FDA does not allow it to be called a food additive) in health food stores, some supermarkets and multiple online sources.

Stevia can also be purchased in the form of the Sweetleaf rebaudiana plant. Look for online nursery's that sell the Stevia plant. When grown from seed the sweetness concentration can vary across plants. Nursery's that specialize will use a mother plant with a high concentration of Stevia and will clip branches from that plant to start new plants. This ensures a high sweetner concentrate in the 'baby' Stevia plants.